13 May 2013

New Lilizela Tourism Awards to reward tourism excellence

The Lilizela Tourism Awards aim to set the standard for global excellence, reward those who strive for perfection, and spur on tourist arrivals growth and destination competitiveness.

Culture and Heritage Pavilion at INDABA 2013 Minister of Tourism Marthinus Van Schalkwyk opens the Heritage and Culture Pavilion at INDABA 2013

I have no doubt this new national award system will assist us in improving standards and creating new role models who young people can look up to and model themselves on. – Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk

The new Lilizela Tourism Awards ('lilizela' means ululating) were launched by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk at the official opening of the Heritage and Culture Pavilion at INDABA 2013.

The awards were created to reward and celebrate excellence across the tourism industry. They will recognise tourism players and businesses that work passionately to deliver a world-class product and service, and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness.

'Our tourism sector is one of the best performing in the world,' Van Schalkwyk told delegates at the opening of the pavilion. 'In 2012 we recorded unprecedented growth of 10.2% in international tourist arrivals. This growth is more than double the average global tourism growth rate of about 4%, as estimated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.'

Van Schalkwyk said awards will initially be presented in five categories, out of seven envisaged, and in time up to 18 sub-categories will be recognised.

'No industry can be measured on one single aspect. Achievements in different areas should be recognised. This is why the awards will be expanded in time to include the range of products and services across the value chain.

The 2013 awards categories are:

  • Minister’s Award – this award recognises outstanding, unique and impactful people, events and organisations that play a decisive role, both in South Africa and globally, in helping to achieve the objectives of the National Tourism Sector Strategy. These objectives include growing tourist arrivals to 15-million and creating 225 000 new jobs by 2020, and increasing tourism's direct and indirect contribution to GDP to R499-billion.
  • Service Excellence – much of the decision for this award will be based on guest feedback. Measures have been put in place to allow the public to cast their vote. The accommodation sector will be recognised during the first year, with other service providers and operators recognised the following year.
  • Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) – this award recognises black-owned SMMEs that have achieved notable success since starting up.
  • Universal Accessibility – this award recognises facilities and services at accommodation establishments and meetings, exhibitions and special event venues that are accessible for people with disabilities, using the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa grading criteria.
  • Sustainability Award – this award recognises the business that has best incorporated the three development and sustainability pillars (economic, environment and social) into its business operating models. The Imvelo brand (responsible tourism awards) will be incorporated into the Lilizela Tourism Awards and will become known as the Lilizela Imvelo Awards.

'I have no doubt this new national awards system will assist us in improving standards and creating new role models that our young people can look up to and model themselves on,' Van Schalkwyk said.

Entries for the awards are free, but businesses need to comply with certain requirements before their applications will be accepted. The overall winners from each category will be announced at a ceremony in September 2013, which will be preceded by provincial recognition awards to be handed out at provincial events.

To enter and for more information, visit the Lilizela Tourism Awards website.