IT WAS glitz, glam and fun at The Venue at Hemingways recently when tourism celebrated excellence with the Lilizela Provincial Tourism Awards.
The awards were presented by the department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism and Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) last month, which was also Tourism Month in South Africa.
The Lilizela Awards is a national government initiative aimed at promoting tourism transformation, service excellence, entrepreneurship, as well as a thriving and sustainable tourism.
Speaking at the event, Eastern Cape MEC for economic development, environmental affairs and tourism Sakhumzi Somyo said tourism drove the economy and it was important that it be celebrated and supported at all costs.
Road Lodge East London and Town Lodge Port Elizabeth were the one- and two-star winners in the hotel category, while East London International Convention Centre (ICC) was crowned the five-star winner in the MESE category.
Road Lodge general manager Kurt Bruiners said being one of the best always came down to having a team which shared a vision of commitment to service and guest excellence.
Nothing is too much trouble and guest satisfaction is always their No1 priority, according to Bruiners.
“Within the City Lodge Group we try to always put our ‘I’m Kind’ service excellence programme into practice. I am ecstatic at winning the award. It means a lot and none of this would have been possible without the entire team’s efforts,” he said.
East London ICC general manager Francois van Zyl said it was an honour to be recognised by the local community for this award.
“My team hails mostly from this region, many of whom have come through our own training centre, and this accolade is an important acknowledgement of their achievements,” Van Zyl said.
“Buffalo City Metro offers many eco, adventure and heritage tourism routes and attractions. However,the region, and the Eastern Cape province in general, is still largely undiscovered. However we are seeing a slow but steady increase from international tour operators, albeit still on a small scale,” he added.
ECPTA CEO Vuyani Dayimani said the finalists and winners not only set the standard for global excellence but they demonstrate why South Africa continued to be one of the most frequently visited destinations by tourists from all over the world.