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JJuly 5 2018:
As excitement builds towards the sixth annual Lilizela Tourism Awards scheduled to take place in October, South African Tourism has confirmed the 2018 judging panel.

The top-caliber 28-member panel covers the vast landscape of the local travel and tourism industry and will have a tough task selecting the best of the best in the local travel industry across a range of categories.

Entries for tourism businesses to enter the Lilizela Tourism awards closed earlier this month.

“The Lilizela Tourism Awards are our way of recognising different business whether big or small for their dedication to our tourism industry. They work hard and continue to set the bar high and contribute in making South Africa such a highly regarded must-visit destination, for local and international tourists alike,” commented Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at South African Tourism.

“The selected judges will certainly have their work cut out for them as they select provincial and national winners from a superb group of entrants.”

 “Our industry can only truly grow through partnerships and collaborations, we would therefore like to thank all those who heeded the call and put their hands up to judge this year’s award entry. We also thank our provincial partners for ensuring that a cross-section of South Africa’s business and service providers enter the awards ensuring that a diversity of experiences are represented.”

With 80% of the scores coming from consumers, the experienced judges will use these together with their extensive knowledge of various facets of the industry to evaluate accommodation establishments, tourist guides and tour operators, as well as facilities catering for meetings, exhibitions and special events. Exceptional visitor experiences in an array of categories will also be tested and toasted.

Particular attention will be paid to emerging black-owned tourism start-ups and small enterprises, as well as to establishments that have taken steps to improve their universal accessibility status (by welcoming and accommodating guests with special needs such as physical disabilities).

As part of the Lilizela Awards, the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) - was launched in 2001 -   is designed primarily to encourage and sustain the development of Small, Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMME’s) within the tourism industry. This award is given to black entrepreneurs, as defined in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, who operate small, micro and medium tourism or hospitality-related businesses. They must have been in operation for more than a year and less than 10 years, employ no more than 50 people and have a turnover of not more than R10 million a year.

The judges’ assessments will be augmented by data from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s Tourism Analytics Programme, a platform that consolidates user reviews for establishments that have an online presence and also includes reviews gathered from TripAdvisor. The adjudication process and results will be audited by Nexia SAB & T, a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Contributor accounting and auditing consulting firm.

Following the nine provincial Lilizela awards ceremonies around the country during Tourism Month in September, the national winners will be announced at a gala event on the 27th October at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

The list of 2018 Lilizela Tourism Awards judges is as follows:

Ari Seirlis, Chief Executive Officer, QuadPara Association of SA

Phillip Thompson, Principal Member, IDC Consultants

Chanel du Plessis, Lead Consultant, Urban-Econ

Robert Max Reichel, Accommodation Manager, Tourist Guide and Tour Operator, Stille Waters Guest Farm, Kapele Tourism Services

Aluscha Ritchie, Board Member, Cape Town Tourism

Jonker Fourie, Chief Executive Officer, Emfuleni Corridor Tourism (ECTOUR)

Phrosne Phillips, Managing Director, Brochure Management

Kananelo Makhetha, Chief Executive Officer, Travelex

Winston Coerecius, Rector, South Cape FET College

Ntlotleng Manale, Founder and Chief Visionary, Black Empire Marketing

Siphokazi Mjali, Accredited Independent Assessor, CATHSSETA/FOODBEVSETA and in Various SETAs

Dr Portia Pearl Siyanda Sifolo, Academic: Department of Tourism Management, Tshwane University of Technology

Dr Johannes Hattingh, Lecturer: Department of Tourism and Event Management

Sthandiwe Mkhize, Chairman, Thinking Pair Group of Companies

Rebecca Kambule, Owner, Rempo Consulting

Nesang Maleka, Director, Mzansi Tourism Experience

Ntokozo Luvuno, Business Consultant/Advisor, Mzansi Tourism Experience

Dewald Niemann, Owner, Oudebosch Farmstall and Tsitsikamma Protea Farm Tours

Dr Veronique Labuschagne, Senior Lecturer: Tourism Management, Vaal University of Technology

Hloni Thabethe, Managing Director, Ndalo Hotel & Conferencing

Gerhard Franken, Consultant, By Design Africa

Unathi Henama, Lecturer, Tshwane University of Technology

Vusumuzi Mlanjana, Lecturer, Walter Sisulu University

Professor Rene Haarhoff, Head of the Department, Central University of Technology, Free State

Barry Clemens, Chief Executive Officer, EQ Hotel Management & Business Solutions

Mr Khwezi kaMPUMLWANA -currently responsible for South Africa’s World Heritage Listing Programme of Liberation Sites under the leadership of the National Heritage Council.

Ms Uveshnee Pillay- Director: Tourist Guiding at the National Department of Tourism

Dr. Julie Reddy- Deputy Chief Executive Office of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

Like the Lilizela Tourism Awards Facebook page or follow @Lilizela_Awards on Twitter for regular updates.

Note to editors:

To view judges’ profiles, visit:   

For more information about South African Tourism visit 


For more information, please contact:

Thandiwe Mathibela

Tel:  011 895 3177


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