8 May 2011

Significant expansion plans for Welcome Awards

Service excellence and a diverse product offering tie in with the NTSS objective of making South Africa more competitive as a tourism destination. The Welcome Awards creates a channel through which service excellence is monitored and rewarded.

Beulah Mosupye, NDT's Chief Director: Sector Transformation Beulah Mosupye, NDT's Chief Director: Sector Transformation

The Welcome Awards creates a channel through which service excellence is monitored and rewarded -Beulah Mosupye, Chief Director: Sector Transformation, NDT

The National Department of Tourism (NDT) is to take over and expand the Welcome Awards to ensure broader participation.

The Welcome Awards is an initiative that promotes and rewards service excellence in the tourism industry, a critical element in ensuring South Africa is the destination of choice for tourists.

Beulah Mosupye, Chief Director: Sector Transformation at the NDT, said with recent developments and growth in the tourism sector that saw the establishment of a stand-alone ministry, and a focus on tourism as a sector that can contribute significantly to South Africa’s GDP, the NDT was looking to strengthen the various platforms that have been designed to develop the destination.

‘The Welcome Awards is one of those tools. We want to expand it to ensure that more people in the tourism value chain participate so that we derive maximum value and exposure for the sector, and gain a greater understanding of what the sector has to offer.’

New categories are to be added to the awards and various business stakeholders critical to tourism’s expansion - from an investment perspective - will be approached to participate.

Among the new categories being considered are those that take into account transformation and community participation, as well as the business, and media sectors.

‘It’s critical that we start rewarding and appreciating the contribution key stakeholders make towards development of the sector,’ said Mosupye.

She added that tourism product in South Africa would benefit through category expansion, as a much diversified product offering would be showcased through the Welcome Awards, and service standards developed across the board.

‘With service standards being one of the key drivers of tourism, we want to ensure the service ethos we’re building cuts across all products.’

SMMEs will also benefit from Welcome’s expansion as they will be viewed as a critical element within the tourism sector rather than as a separate sub-sector, said Mosupye. ‘SMMEs won’t be measured in terms of their size but in terms of the value they add to the offering we take out to market.’

The Welcome Awards will undergo a name change to reflect its new focus of covering all tourism sub-sectors.