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WWith just over two months to go to the Lilizela Tourism Awards provincial events and three months to go to the national event, the country’s most prestigious tourism awards judges have been announced. Thirty-nine people from the larger tourism industry have been appointed to serve as judges for the 2016 edition of the Lilizela Tourism Awards.

In its fourth year, the Lilizela Tourism Awards continues to recognises the best of the best of business operators and service providers and plays a pivotal role in elevating the country’s reputation as a destination of excellence underpinned by a variety of quality-assured experiences and accommodation types.

Earlier this year, South African Tourism invited members of tourism industry to form part of the Lilizela Tourism Awards adjudication panel. This invitation was well-received, with the cream of the industry offering to do service on the panel of judges.

“Collaborations and partnerships are key in ensuring the growth of the South African tourism industry. We are therefore thrilled with the overwhelming response we received from the broader South African tourism industry. This can only be interpreted as a vote of confidence in the Lilizela Tourism Awards.  The judges are a combination of experts who specialise in different areas of the tourism industry and are therefore well suited to recognise products and services that offer high quality of service excellence,” says Darryl Erasmus, Chief Quality Assurance Officer at Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA), a business unit of South African Tourism.

Along with these expertise, the judges are now able to consult with the Tourism Analytics Programme, which is a platform that consolidates all consumer reviews for all properties that have an online presence. This platform, owned by TGCSA, is used to equip Accredited Assessors and graded properties with information on their online ratings and is key in identifying of improvement, based on reviews from actual consumers.

Grant Thornton, which is one the largest audit firms in South Africa, was appointed to oversee the awards. 

“These judges’ roles and the Tourism Analytics Programme give us the confidence of knowing every entry will be judged by people whose commitment to excellence in tourism is absolute. We are also confident that these awards will be given to business owners who exceed customer satisfaction and continue to make South Africa a world class destination.

The Provincial Awards Ceremonies will take place in September, during Tourism Month while the National Lilizela Tourism Awards winners will be announced on the 16th of October 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg.

Judges for the category ‘Universal Accessibility’

Phillip Thompson

Principal Member, IDC Consultants

Heinrich Spies

Accredited UA Assessor, Tourism Grading Council of South Africa

Ari Seirlis

National Director, Quadpara Association of South Africa (QASA)

Bekithemba Langalibalele

Director: Responsible Tourism, National Department of Tourism

Judges for the category ‘Tour Operator’

Alushca Ritchie

Chairperson, Cape Tourist Guides Association

Chanel du Plessis

Tourism Specialist: Tourism Planning & Research, Urban-Econ

Lizzie Mokgothu,

Membership Manager, SATSA

Johannes Hatting

Tourism Lecturer, Board Member on various Tourism Boards, Central University of Technology: Free State

Siphokazi Mjali

Executive Member, South African Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality

Judges for the category ‘Visitor Experience’

Stephen Daniels

General Manager, Pine Lake Inn

Jonker Fourie

CEO, Emfuleni Corridor Tourism (ECTOUR)

Kiéra Schoeman

Tourism Specialist: Tourism Planning & Research, Urban-Econ

Phrosne Phillips

Owner, Brochure Management

Rebecca Kambule         

Owner, REMPO Consulting

Nesang Maleka  

Secretary General, South African Youth in Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Judges for the category ‘ETEYA’

Jonathan Jacobs

Founder and CEO, Skylar Investment Holdings

Loshni Naidoo

Associate and Senior Incubation Coach, Awethu Project

Portia Sifolo,

Lecturer and Researcher, Tshwane University of Technology

Alexander McLeod         

Founding Trustee, The School Entrepreneurship Trust

Sheila Sekhitla  

Owner, The View Guesthouse

Ntokozo Luvuno

Manager, South African Youth in Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Thembeka Semane        

Managing Director, Linea Di Fondo (Pty) Ltd

Judges for the category ‘Accommodation’

Unathi Henama 

Tourism Marketing Lecturer, Tshwane University of Technology

Dewald Niemann           

Owner, Oudebosch Farmstall and Tsitsikamma Protea Farm Tours

Sthandiwe Mkhize          

Group CEO, Thinking Pair Incubator Designs

Debbie Goveia   

Accredited Assessor, Tourism Grading Council of SA

Roebendry Gangiah

Accredited Assessor, Tourism Grading Council of SA

Vernon Kirsten  

Owner and Managing Member, ReservHotel International Africa

Barry Clemens  

CEO, EQ Hotel Management

Hloni Thabethe 

Managing Director, Ndalo Hotel & Conferencing

Judges for the category ‘B-BBEE’

Mokgadi Rameetse        

BEE Field Manager, SANAS

Portia Tau-Sekati           

Chief Executive Officer,  The Property Sector Charter Council

Mathibela Mankge         

Director: B-BBEE Sector Transformation, National Department of Tourism

Judges for the category ‘Tourist Guiding’

Uveshnee Pillay 

Director: Tourist Guiding, National Department of Tourism

Joe Samuels     

Chief Executive Officer, South African Qualifications Authority

Khwezi Mpumlwana       

World Heritage Specialist, National Heritage Council

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