17 December 2018


Lilizela Tourism Awards honour tourism role players


Obakeng Maje


23 September 2016

Bokone Bophirima honoured tourism product owners over the weekend, in a fanfare that suits their contribution to the economy of the province.

The provincial Department of Tourism hosted the Lilizela Tourism Awards in Sun City outside Rustenburg, providing a platform for tourism roleplayers from villages to small towns and cities to be rewarded for what they do best.

Owner of Selamod Village Guest House, Tsholofelo Mothibedi who was bestowed with the MEC Special Award, expressed joy at the achievement. Mothibedi said she established Selamod Village Guest House back in 2000 in Chaneng village near Rustenburg.

"I started with small back rooms and later on developed the place. I realized that many people visit our area and they sometimes encounter challenges regarding accommodation. So I knew that a guest house could be set as a network of mainly smaller accommodation providers in our area.

"I am very honoured to be a recipient of the MEC Special Award. This alone shows that with discipline, dedication and determination, we could go far. I know there are many challenges in the sector, but we need not lose hope," she said.

Mphebatho Cultural Village representative, Mcendisi Thambe scooped the Tourist Guide award. Thambe said: "We always encourage people to visit our heritage sites. There is more knowledge and information that we could obtain from our history. We also want to applaud the tourism department for its contribution and the province for coming up with the Villages, Townships and Small Dorpies (VTSD) initiative to support local economies," he said.

Madikwe Game Reserve won the best Culture and Lifestyle award. The game reserve representatives, Susan Potgieter and Angie Masilela said they were looking forward to representing the province at the national awards.

"We are offering comfortable personal service of luxury boutique with extra special touches. We offer a suitable hospitality and at the same time we make our visitors feel comfortable at our establishment," they said about their product.
"We also welcome the honour bestowed on us by our provincial government," Masilela said.

Thaba Tshwene Game Lodge representative said they are grateful to be crowned Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment winner.
"We want to contribute to elevating the province's reputation as a tourist destination of excellence. The province is underpinned by a variety of quality-assured experiences and accommodation types."

Brauhaus am Damm in Rustenburg will represent Bokone Bophirima at the national Lilizela Tourism Awards under the Culture and Lifestyle category. Moruleng Cultural Precinct is the candidate for Roots category while Thaba Tshwene Game Lodge is a contestant under the Exempted Micro Enterprise.

Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) Chief Assurance Officer, Darryl Erasmus, said the Lilizela awards promote domestic tourism and give unforgettable experiences.

"Grant Thornton, 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," Erasmus said.

"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," he said.

Tour operator, Otshebile Sjambok, who owns OJ Tours and Traveling, said tour operators function as intermediaries in the tourism distribution system because they link producers with consumers. Sjambok is also chairperson of Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Tourism Association.

"Our expertise is packaging tourism products to allow more offerings to a wider range of tourists. We appreciate the role played by government in honouring us," Sjambok said.

He decried the slow transformation in the tourism industry. "I have established that 90% of accommodation and establishments are owned by whites. We still lack transformation in our province," he said, calling on government to help speed transformation up.

MEC for tourism, Desbo Mohono said the concept of Lilizela Tourism Awards was initiated as a result of engagements with the national Department of Tourism. Mohono said key stakeholders, including provinces, help stimulate the recognition of excellence in the tourism industry.

"The aim was essentially to recognize and reward tourism players and businesses that work passionately with pride to deliver world class products. The delivery of our product owners grows South Africa's global destination competitiveness.

"In essence, the awards are about identifying the best service providers in the industry. The awards honoured those who showed discipline, dedication and determination in the field," she said.

The National Lilizela Tourism Awards will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on October 16.