Entries for the Lilizela Tourism Awards have now closed. Organiser and host of the awards, South African Tourism, has announced the judges who will determine who is the best of the best in the South African tourism industry.

The highly qualified 29-member panel are all from the local travel and tourism industry, each having no fewer than three years’ work experience and an understanding of the South African tourism industry. The judges will crown the winning businesses in November at the seventh annual national Lilizela Tourism Awards.

Eighty percent of the scores come from consumers and the adjudicators will use these, together with their own knowledge, to evaluate accommodation establishments, tourist guides and tour operators, as well as venues catering for meetings, exhibitions and events.

As part of the Lilizela Awards, the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) is designed to encourage and sustain the development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises within the tourism industry.

The award is given to black entrepreneurs, as defined in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, who operate small, micro and medium tourism or hospitality-related businesses. They must have been in operation for more than a year and less than 10 years, employ no more than 50 people and have a turnover of not more than R10 million a year.

The judges’ assessments will be augmented by data from various online review platforms. The adjudication process and results will be audited by Nexia SAB & T, a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Contributor accounting and auditing consulting firm.

Following the nine provincial Lilizela awards ceremonies around the country during Tourism Month in September, the national winners will be announced at a gala event in November in Gauteng.

Meet the Judges:

Judges in the Universal Accessibility category

  • Ari Seirtis, CEO of QuadPara Association of South Africa
  • Dr Lisebo Tseane-Gumbi, Senior Tourism Lecturer, Northwest University
  • Amanda Latimore, CEO of Universal Access Solutions


Judges in the Tour Operators category

  • Chanel du Plessis, Specialist in Tourism Research and Economics at Urban-Econ 
  • Nico Fourie, Owner of 75 on Milner Lodge, Kimberley
  • Robert Max Reichel, Accommodation Manager, Tourist Guide and Tour Operator, Still Waters Guest Farm, Kapele Tourism Services.
  • Otshebile Joseph Tshamboko, N12 Treasure Route Association


Judges in the Visitor Experience category:

  • Jonker Fourie, CEO at Emfuleni Corridor Tourism (ECTOUR).
  • Chwatiya Rixana, Cockpit Property Investments
  • Nompumelelo Mqwebu, Author & Chef at Mpumes African Cuisine PTY (Ltd)
  • Judiet Barnes, Thebe Tourism: Kruger Shalati Train on a Bridge
  • Siphokazi Ndamase, Mnquma Tourism


Judges in the ETEYA category:

  • Dr Johannes Hattingh, Lecturer: Department of Tourism and Event Management Central University of Technology, Free State
  • Rebecca Kambule, Owner Rempo Consulting
  • Clarissa Carsten, Umfana Namakwaland
  • Weziwe Busakwe, University of Stellenbosch
  • Ntokozo Luvuno, Business Development Consultant (TEP)


Judges in the Accommodation and Venues categories

  • Scolastica Nawegulo, Cathseta – Hospitality
  • Linda Ncgipe, Lwamika Business Events Services
  • Samantha Claire Bouwerm, Tshwane University of Technology
  • Makgaje Julia Senoelo, Orbit TVET College Mankwe Campus Tourism Lecturer
  • Phelokazi Stuma, Walter Sisulu University
  • Vusumzi Mlanjana, Lecturer, Walter Sisulu University
  • Dr Portia Pearl Sifolo, Academic: Department of Tourism Management, Tshwane University of Technology
  • Kananelo Makhetha; CEO, Travelex
  • Neo Mohlatloe, Director, Seven Colors Communication
  • Prof Rene Haarhoff; Central University of Technology, Free State


Judges in the Tourist Guide category

  • Ms Uveshnee Pillay, National Department of Tourism
  • Dr Julie Reddy, SAQA


Find out more about the Lilizela Tourism Awards here.