14th November 2014


The national winners of the second annual Lilizela awards were revealed at a recent ceremony at the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City, Johannesburg.

Over the years there have been several different awards and ceremonies conducted by different entities and organisations and it was decided to bring them all together under the Lilizela Awards banner managed by SA Tourism and the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.

Tourism products had to enter the individual categories and winners were selected based on their TripAdvisor ratings and a public voting process.  This was to reflect the public’s take on tourist establishments and facilities instead of it being left only to the discretion of a few judges.  Once this was completed the judges came in for an evaluation session to make sure the first part of the process was done to their satisfaction.  They also identified the finalists, provincial winners and ultimately the national winners.
The Eastern Cape was represented through this whole process by two of the judges, one being our own Jonker Fourie, CEO of ECTOUR. 

A huge congratulations goes out to all the winners, especially the winners that flew the Eastern Cape’s flag high at Gold Reef City.  They truly set an outstanding example and made the tourism industry within the Eastern Cape proud. Keep up the good work.

The very first award of the night was the one for best Four Star Backpackers and the Eastern Cape contingent went up in a giant roar when it was snapped up by Tsitsikamma Backpackers with a very surprised Andre Kruger being called to the stage to receive the award from Derek Hanekom, the Minister of Tourism, and Tokozile Xasa, the Deputy Minister of Tourism.  Tsitsikamma Backpackers is also a proud member of the Tsitsikamma Tourism Association.

In the Accommodation Excellence Award category for best 5 star Game Lodge award, Sarili Lodge in the Shamwari Game Reserve walked away with the title, grabbing in away from in front of some of the more well-known lodges up north.

The Visitor Experience award categories had two Eastern Cape winners with Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa, a proud member of the Wild Coast Holiday Associations, getting the award for Best Beach Experience and Raggy Charters in Port Elizabeth being a surprise winner in the Marine Adventure category.

Bulungula Lodge, also on the Wild Coast, was a big winner in the Imvelo Awards section winning the category Economic Impact made by a Small Organization.  They also won Best Social Involvement Program made by a Small Organization.  The Imvelo Awards are given to tourist establishments and facilities for outstanding sustainable development and responsible tourism efforts.

In the ETEYA Awards section, Park Place Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse was the third runner up.  This award recognizes the emerging tourism entrepreneur of the year and awards only Black (as defined in the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act) entrepreneurs who operate small, micro and medium tourism or hospitality-related businesses.  They must have been in operation for less than 10 years, employ no more than 50 people and have a turnover of not more than R10 million a year.

ECTOUR chairman Dewald Niemann was jubilant about the increase of Eastern Cape winners this year.  “Congratulations yet again to all this year’s winners to a job well-done,” Niemann said after the ceremony.  “These awards truly reflect that establishments’ unwavering hard work and determination does pay off. We wish them a year filled with reward and motivation because of this and would like to encourage even more Eastern Cape products and establishments to enter next year’s competition.”   

Entries for the 2015 Lilizela Awards are open already.  To enter visit the Lilizela Awards website and check out the various categories and the criteria tourist establishments and facilities need to meet to be able to enter. 

Let’s work together to bring more awards to the Eastern Cape.



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