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TTHE CLOSING DATE to enter the prestigious Lilizela Tourism Awards is fast approaching and qualifying industry members are urged to submit their applications. The closing date for any tourism services and products that would like to enter is the 31st of May while the closing date for voting is the 19th June 2016.

Launched in 2013, the Lilizela Tourism Awards recognise tourism business owners and service providers who uphold services of excellence in their day to day operations.
“Through these awards we are able to showcase the best of South Africa’s tourism offerings and prove that they are of the highest level of service excellence.  In addition to our warm and welcoming people, quality service is what will set us apart from the other destinations,” says Acting Chief Executive Officer, Sthembiso Dlamini.

Tourism products and services who enter and win the awards benefit from the marketing support given to them by South African Tourism.

“For us at South African Tourism, it is important that we recognise and reward service excellence. It is for this reason that we hosted 14 Lilizela Tourism Awards 2015 winners at this year’s INDABA as this provided them with a valuable platform to showcase and sell their services ”, says Dlamini

The Lilizela Tourism Awards focus on four areas: Service Excellence, Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship. The fourth area of focus, the Minister’s Award, is nominated and awarded at the sole discretion of the National Tourism Minister, Mr Derek Hanekom. Entry is free, with all the criteria for each category being clearly outlined on the Lilizela website.

“The categories for the Lilizela Tourism Awards are inclusive and widely representative of our sector as possible in order to help, develop, grow and transform the industry. Not only are these awards about rewarding those organisations and the people who work determinedly to be the best of the best but the awards are also about helping bolster South Africa’s reputation as a destination of excellence and variety across all experiences and accommodation sectors,” Dlamini adds.

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), a business unit of South African Tourism, recently announced progress made on the Tourism Analytics Programme (TAP), which takes the classification process to the digital/social sphere, and entails integration of content from some key online travel review websites like TripAdvisor,, Trivago into the TGCSA’s grading system.

The insights from the TAP programme enable establishments to understand their service quality shortcomings, therefore affording them an opportunity to improve. This integration of the reviews into the star grading system also provides an opportunity for a credible and transparent adjudication of Lilizela Tourism Awards.

The consumer voting segment will allow visitors to vote for the accommodation establishment and other tourist offerings and people, they believe offer the best service in South Africa.  There are a number of categories to vote for in this segment including the best tourist attraction, best tour operator, best restaurant, general universal accessibility award and lap of luxury, amongst others.

“The consumer voting category is important because it helps establishments improve their services and enhance facilities because the feedback received, allows them to understand their guests better, “concludes Dlamini  

Consumers are encouraged to visit the website and rate their experience and indicate when they frequented the establishment.

To enter online, please visit

The provincial awards ceremonies will take place throughout the month of September 2016 and the National Awards Ceremony will be held in Johannesburg on 16 October 2016.

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