Speaking to the press at the 7th annual Lilizela Tourism Awards held at the Sun Square Arena in Pretoria, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that this years’ awards were about celebrating 25 years of excellence since democratic freedom.

We have built a strong foundation for the industry and good product, she said. Looking forward, the Ministry was speaking to various stakeholders to see what more could be done.

Last week the Minister engaged with the airline industry to discuss collaboration and improve communication with stakeholders to promote tourism (for more on this, see tomorrow’s issue of Tourism Update).

The Minister said she was also excited about leveraging the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup win, and said this was a great opportunity to talk about the country positively; “a gift that should not be squandered”.

Thank you to the men and women who, in their area of work, go the extra mile to ensure that tourists that travel to our country enjoy a memorable experience. Providing real authentic experiences to tourists is what will sustain and grow our tourism sector,” she said.

“Tourism is a competitive sector and demands from us a distinct, authentically South African and memorable experience so tourists can return to our country again and again or, even better, entice others to come along with them. We must continue to ensure that we transform our sector inclusively and showcase more authentic and uniquely South African experiences,” she said.

She praised the businesses and individuals that put themselves forward for scrutiny by entering the awards, saying this was a good mechanism to ensure the improvement of standards within the industry. 

And the winners were…