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GGolden Gate Highlands National Park Rest Camps: Motivation for the Lilizela Award 2016 South African National Parks (SANParks) tourism offers a variety of accommodation from sophisticated to rustic including caravan and camping with its unique standards throughout the country. Rates is solely dependent on location, size of the unit and quality experience. Golden Gate Highlands National Park is one of the unique park exclusively from other parks of the South African National Parks. Golden Gate Highlands National Park being situated still Free State near Lesotho border. The park’s most notable features are on its golden and to mention few, eroded sandstone cliffs, numerous caves, including the wildlife such as eland, zebras and more bird species. The park is famous for its landscaping than its wildlife. The park is situated on the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. The parks offers an overnight lodging accommodation at Glen Reenen rest camp situated close to the Golden Gate Hotel & Chalets and offers rondavels and guests cottages. Highlands Mountain Retreat, is the perfect gateway for visitors craving a secluded setting. The wooden cabins, tucked into the mountainside, offer unbelievable vistas of the surroundings Maluti’s that seem to scratch as far as the eye can see. A great escape for the mind, body and soul….. Highlands Mountain Retreat, is a luxury camp that is home to eight log cabins and Basotho Cultural Village (which became official after it was amalgamated with Qwa Qwa National Park early 21st century in order to increase park areas) Rest Camps, which mirrors an 18th century Basotho village. An amazing architectural sight with stunning setting and decorations that will colour a soothing and relaxing backdrop for the visitor. Guests can rest assured that the self-catering accommodation will be nothing short of comfort and cosy. Away from home our farmhouse located 7 km form Glen Reenen Rest Camp, this rustic little farmhouse provides a comfortable setting for guests. It also gives our visitors a “prehistoric” feeling and eastern Free State awe while they are relaxing in the surrounding environment. For nature lovers who prefer to get a bit closer to the natural environment, caravan and camping sites also offered at Glen Reenen with ablutions and barbecue facilities. Tourism is a significant factor that contributes to globalisation. It is an eminent fact that customers have more choices to buy the services, which is why it is important for every organization like SANParks to sustain high performance and assess the quality of management to create competitive advantage. “Moving with trends” is a nowadays slogan, so does the all the hospitality businesses are expected to do likewise its quality assurance through Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA). Indeed, Golden Gate rest camps would be noticed without being assessed by TGCSA. Rest camps in Golden Gate every year undergo through quality assurance to ensure customer satisfaction and be in line with current trends within the hospitality industry. TGCSA body keeps these 3 rest camps with its toe, not to give them rest in order to endure for better star in every year assessment. Undeniably, Golden Gate camps ensure that they retain their star grading or upgrading instead of down grading. The Glen Reenen Rest Camp offers rondavels, longdavels and guest cottages, whilst Mountain Retreat offers log cabins and Basotho Cultural Village also offers rondavels for couple and families. Golden Gate camps recognises that universal accessibility plays a momentous role in the promotion of the sustainable tourism, providing at least 2% of its chalets and cabin, including the ablutions as well in the caravan sites and are fully equipped for universal accessibility. It is excitingly to say Golden Gate rest camps performed exceptional thriving in terms of financial level and without the positive contribution from our valued guests, without any reasonable doubt this achievements wouldn’t be so fruitful, that is through customer service level. This is achieved through passion and commitment, the rest camps with its team under synergy being so enthusiastic and dedicated to achieve more clientele and generate exceedingly expected revenue whilst applying a most modern cost curtail system to trim expenses. Golden Gate rest camps performance in the 2015/16 fiscal year has been nothing but exceptional even though the challenges that were thought-provoking, the team managed to perform at such an unexpected extent with a segment of the staff on board during both peak and low-peak periods. The Rest Camps of Golden Gate contribution to the socio economic development of the province is just over R104, 186.00 thousands in local spending and over R4,606,226 million in Human Resources costs annually paid to over 34 staff members that are currently employed at the rest camps, making this establishment is of the least tourism employer in the area. Golden Gate Rest Camps has also participated in the SANParks Corporate Social Investment, collecting 1% tourism levy from each booking made, contributing to the building of two science laboratories in two different schools within the province, one in QwaQwa and the other in Clarens. Furthermore, referring to the history of occupancy unit and bed occupancy within the rest camps, the past fiscal year 2015/2016 was a very exciting for the accommodation units including the caravan sites performance in terms of unit occupancy growth of 33.4% YOY and bed occupancy with a growth of 32.9%. Conversely, rest camps generated close to 43.08% of the Golden Gate Park total revenue for the year 2015/2016, which is an astounding improvement. This attest by the POE attached for statistics record. SANParks is well known as the learning and healing organization, therefore, it makes an effort to open its arms to those whom were previously disadvantage in creating learning opportunity in order to support transformation in the country. Therefore, Golden Gate camps plays a major role in this broader transformation agenda and take learnerships and internships student every year with no fail. Interns play integral part in the implementation of new policies and programs developed by SANParks to integrate local communities into conservation of the natural and cultural heritage sites within the parks. Customer Feedback: Golden Gate National Park with its majestic exclusive lodge accommodation is therefore expected to be rated by its customers for quality service delivery, rest camps always value customer feedback as a tool to improve on service and hospitality standards. The dash board is a useful tool to measure against its service standard in order to ensure customer satisfaction to gear towards the repeat business. It is proven beyond reasonable doubt that rest camps in Golden Gate plays a major role in the tourism sustainability and the record of the influx to the park is also an evidence that Free State tourism wouldn’t survive without these rest camps including overnight and day visitors coming for exclusive adventures available in the park, to mention the few; self-guided trails walk and horse riding. Gate arrival statistics growth indicates that total arrivals growth is 8%, day visitors is 12% and overnight visitors 4% compared to previous year including international and sadec market. This is attest by POE committed. In recognition for supporting sustainable tourism and socio economic develop in the Free State, Golden Gate rest camps have proven beyond doubt that tourism in national parks is exclusive and offers a diverse range of experience to both domestic and international markets.

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