IT was a night of honour and glamour when the provincial tourism industry celebrated its top business owners and service providers at the fifth annual Lilizela Tourism Awards.
Joined by various key industry players, tourism authorities announced the 2017 awards at the star-studded gala event held at the Zebula Golf Estate and Spa in the Waterberg District, against the backdrop of the majestic Waterberg mountain range, the lush and thick vegetation.
The region is the home to the finest lodges and grandest on of the Marakele National Park, host to South Africa’s best Safari Golf courses.
The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) stated that: “Responsible tourism is not all about the bad and the ugly. There is so much good out there that has to be celebrated.
“And that is why we founded the World Responsible Tourism Awards in 2004.
“Open to anyone in the world, winners have inspired many others who are working tirelessly to create a more responsible form of tourism.
“And while we like to think our holidays put smiles on all our travellers’ faces, nothing beats the smile when award winners’ names are announced. And rightly so”.
Addressing delegates during the awards ceremony, Limpopo Tourism Agency board chairman, Andrew Dipela, said: “Each year we look forward to these highly contested tourism awards, the awards gives an opportunity for the industry to openly compete and reflect on the services that they offer.
“Limpopo province is not a stranger in contesting and winning national awards, the reigning ETEYA overall winner Besty Travel hails and operates from Mankweng Township in Limpopo.
“We are very happy with the interest shown by the industry and we have confidence the current pool of winners will represent us accordingly and bring the honours home.
“Our wish is to make a traveller say what Gustave Flaubert said ‘It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancholies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling.”
In conclusion Dipela, gave his gratitude to the tourism industry at large for being good ambassadors and trend setters for others, saying: “It is the Limpopo government’s hope that the tourism industry will be inspired by the finalist and participate in the Lilizela awards in the betterment of the visitor experience, inclusiveness of SMME’s and customer service. Once more congratulations to all the participants”.
The National Winners will be announced at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, on October 29 this year.