Awards recog­nise best of NC tourism

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - NORMA WILDENBOER STAFF REPORTER

THE NORTH­ERN Cape’s pre­mier tourism destinations were recog­nised and awarded dur­ing the an­nual North­ern Cape Pro­vin­cial Lilizela Awards Cer­e­mony held in Kim­ber­ley this week.

The aim of the awards is to recog­nise and re­ward tourism play­ers and busi­nesses who work pas­sion­ately and with pride to de­liver a world-class tourism prod­uct and ser­vice.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards is an ini­tia­tive to ac­knowl­edge, cel­e­brate and en­cour­age an es­ca­lated level of qual­ity tourism ser­vices of­fered in the coun­try, thereby en­hanc­ing South Africa’s global com­pet­i­tive­ness and po­si­tion the coun­try as a pre­ferred tourist des­ti­na­tion.

The awards fur­ther cel­e­brate global ex­cel­lence in tourism fo­cus­ing on ser­vice ex­cel­lence, emerg­ing tourism en­trepreneur­ship and sus­tain­able tourism de­vel­op­ment.

The com­pe­ti­tion is now in its sixth year and the pro­vin­cial win­ners an­nounced this week will now be­came na­tional com­peti­tors in their par­tic­u­lar cat­e­gory dur­ing the na­tional awards cer­e­mony that will be held on Novem­ber 17 at the Sand­ton ICC in Jo­han­nes­burg.

Pro­vin­cial events are held dur­ing Tourism Month (Septem­ber) .

De­liv­er­ing the key­note ad­dress at the North­ern Cape awards, the MEC for Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment and Tourism, Mac Jack, stated that the awards com­mended the in­dus­try’s lead­ers in ser­vice ex­cel­lence and recog­nised shin­ing ex­am­ples of tourism busi­nesses in the Prov­ince.

“By now, all tourism sec­tor stake­hold­ers should be aware that th­ese awards recog­nise and re­ward tourism play­ers and busi­nesses who work pas­sion­ately and with pride to de­liver a world-class prod­uct and ser­vice. Through their hard work, de­ter­mi­na­tion and courage they put our Prov­ince on the do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourism radar and en­sure that we be­come a des­ti­na­tion of choice,” Jack said.

The MEC, how­ever, added that South Africa was cur­rently “ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cult eco­nomic times”, with Sta­tis­tics SA an­nounc­ing that the coun­try is in a tech­ni­cal eco­nomic re­ces­sion.

“It is with­out a doubt that we are all af­fected by es­ca­lat­ing fuel prices and, ob­vi­ously, the tourism in­dus­try is not spared. Ser­vice ex­cel­lence has thus be­come more im­por­tant to en­sure that our Prov­ince has a com­pet­i­tive edge over our com­peti­tors and all sec­tor stake­hold­ers are ac­tu­ally com­pelled to em­brace it as a per­for­mance dif­fer­en­tia­tor to en­hance ex­tended and re­peated cus­tomer visi­ta­tion. All of us within the tourism sec­tor in this Prov­ince should work to­wards mak­ing the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence out­stand­ing.”

Jack fur­ther raised con­cern about what he dubbed “one of the main chal­lenges in the tourism sec­tor in the coun­try and in our Prov­ince”, namely the very slow pace of trans­for­ma­tion.

“It is not by ac­ci­dent that this event is hosted tonight at an es­tab­lish­ment (the Bat­sumi Lux­ury Guest House in Galeshewe) which was sup­ported by the de­part­ment. It was de­lib­er­ately planned as such, be­cause govern­ment needs to lead the cam­paign to get the sec­tor and in­dus­try trans­formed by push­ing the town­ship tourism agenda, with­out fear or favour.

“How­ever, it has come to my at­ten­tion that most of our tourism es­tab­lish­ments in the town­ship are fail­ing to keep their heads above wa­ter be­cause de­part­ments are fail­ing to pay them on time. It is im­por­tant to ad­here to the new pol­icy of govern­ment of pay­ing our SMMEs within a 30-day pe­riod, oth­er­wise we will kill them even be­fore they can even start,” Jack said.

He added that the de­part­ment needed to see “much bet­ter racial and gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion” at fu­ture ser­vice ex­cel­lence awards events.

“My de­part­ment is com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ously ini­ti­ate and ren­der sup­port pro­grammes to broaden the de­sired rep­re­sen­ta­tion. To see that hap­pen­ing, we have in­vited ap­pli­ca­tions for tourism grants last month and I there­fore urge our prospec­tive tourism en­trepreneurs to ap­ply for th­ese grants which cater for Tourism Enterprise De­vel­op­ment and Tourism Fes­ti­vals and Events re­spec­tively. It is im­por­tant that the R2 mil­lion al­lo­ca­tion for each cat­e­gory be spread evenly across all the dis­tricts. I re­ally hope that such win­dows of op­por­tu­nity will be ex­ploited by our tar­get des­ig­nated groups to be­come part of the tourism sec­tor and in­dus­try, es­pe­cially our prospec­tive tourism en­trepreneurs who are un­able to offer col­lat­eral to fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to start or ex­pand their busi­nesses,” Jack con­cluded.

The win­ners were an­nounced as fol­lows:

Ac­tion and Adventure: Grav­ity Ad­ven­tures North­ern Cape

Bed and Break­fast: Brown’s Manor and Clas­sic Court B&B and Villa

Coun­try House: Holkrans Guest Lodge

Cul­ture and Life­style: The Workshop Ko Kasi

Game Lodge: Mat­tanu Pri­vate Game Re­serve

Guest House: Ole­an­der Guest House and African Vine­yard Guest­house

Ho­tel: Kim­ber­ley Anne Small Lux­ury Ho­tel, Gar­den Court Kim­ber­ley and Road Lodge Kim­ber­ley. Meet­ings, Ex­hi­bi­tions and Special Events (MESE): Naba Lodge Con­fer­ence Fa­cil­ity

Roots and Cul­ture: The Big Hole Self Cater­ing Ex­clu­sive: Rhino Manor

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