Local businesses in the tourism industry were recognised for their excellence at the 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards, this week. Bloemfontein accommodation establishments such as Monte Bello and Anta Boga Hotel were two of the winners along with local based chain hotels City Lodge Bloemfontein and Road Lodge Bloemfontein.
The awards are hosted every year by the Free State Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA). This year the event took place at Imvelo Safari, just outside of the City of Roses.
“People who visit our province should experience hospitality, friendly service and professionalism, above all they should experience value for money, quality night sleep, cleanness, quality of our food, gushing rivers, singing birds and enjoy sitting around the fire, and enjoy the open sky, ” said MEC Makalo Mohale.
The awards take place as September has been declared tourism month. The department seeks to improve tourism amongst tourists as well as Free Staters. “Tourism is the new gold, it is a sector that is thriving and has tremendous potential for further growth, and more particularly for job creation,” expressed DESTEA communications officer Elsie Ntsane.
“Through programmes like the Lilizela Awards government intends to recognize and celebrate tourism businesses for tourism excellence, for their contribution to South Africa’s global competitiveness, and for growing tourism’s contribution towards GDP and job creation,” she added.
Winners from across the province were honoured with Dithabeng Tours being awarded the coveted MEC Award. Joseph Rantseke of Dithabeng Tours, explained that their excellent service has been a priority since entering the industry in 2002.
“I was emotional when receiving the award because in the 17 years of being a tour guide and an environmental educator, it has been nothing but dedication, passion and commitment to the work that I do, and today my work has been recognised” he said.