The recent Lilizela Tourism Awards which took place in Johannesburg recognised products and services offered by the tourism industry for their contribution to South Africa's growth, competitiveness and transformation.
Tourism industry celebrates excellenceSpeaking at the recent award ceremony in Johannesburg, the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, congratulated leading members of the industry for helping to grow South Africa's reputation as a leading tourism destination, and supporting the growth and development of South Africa's economy. The Lilizela Tourism Awards are the premier awards programme for tourism businesses in South Africa.
"South Africa's tourism industry has proven itself as an excellent vehicle for growing the economy and creating jobs," said Hanekom. "All the finalists and award winners have done a fantastic job in advancing this important sector through their commitment to excellence in the products they have developed and the services they offer."
"This means that South Africa's reputation as a world-class tourism destination continues to grow," the minister said.
This year's Lilizela Tourism Awards experienced a growth of 854% in the number of votes received from 2013 to 2014, which highlights the importance of consumer reviews. In addition, visitors to the Lilizela Tourism Awards website spent an average of six minutes compared to the two minutes they spent in 2013. This indicates that the two-year old brand is gaining traction among consumers.
This year's highly sought-after Minister's Award was presented to Mavuso Msimang. The award honours an individual or business that has made a noteworthy local and global contribution to tourism economically and socially. Msimang is currently the CEO of the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Foundation and also sits on several company boards, for corporate and non-governmental organisations.
During his illustrious career, he has been called upon to work in fields of discipline ranging from international development through tourism, conservation and information technology. He has also been extensively involved in the transformation and restructuring of state-owned entities, namely SA Tourism, South African National Parks (SANParks), the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) as well as the Department of Home Affairs. He also set up the Tourism KZN provincial organisation, which he briefly led as its CEO.
"All the finalists and winners are already working with us to achieve our vision of becoming one of the top twenty destinations globally by 2020, but I believe Mavuso Msimang is a worthy recipient," said Hanekom.
Audit Company, Grant Thornton was appointed as independent Auditors of the 2014 Lilizela Tourism Awards programme. The entire process was scrutinized thoroughly by the auditors. This included the entries, the voting and consumer reviews, as well as the final adjudication that produced both Provincial and National Finalists and Winners. The 2014 Lilizela Tourism Awards programme received a clean audit for all the Award Categories that were audited.
The National Lilizela Tourism Award winners for 2014, can be viewed on www.lilizela.co.za