Durban — Besides praise being heaped on five-star hotels and local Grammy award-winning artists in the City of eThekwini, the night also belonged to rickshaw-pullers, craft-makers and tour guides.
This as entrepreneurs in the tourism, hospitality and creative industries received a much-needed boost for their businesses when they were honoured at the 2nd Durban Tourism Business Awards, held at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre on Thursday.
This year’s rickshaw-puller winner, 61-year-old Mjabuliseni Dlamini, said the R50 000 prize money would help him to renovate his rickshaw, as it had been difficult to save because business was slow after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Solani Mtshali, of Masimbonge Club, took the honours in the Crafters Category. She said her winnings would be invested back into the business.
“Through this business, I have managed to raise my children. Not so long ago, I was at the World Table Tennis Championships, and now I am winning this award. I am truly grateful to the city for providing us with such opportunities,” she said.
Jeannie Sarno, owner of a 4-star Burnham B&B in uMhlanga, scooped the Service Excellence Award in the Non-Hotels Category. Sarno launched her establishment 14 years ago.
“I am very humbled. It is unbelievable that I have been honoured with this prize. Thank you to eThekwini, our staff and clients. We promise to continue working with Durban Tourism to position the City as a preferred tourist destination,” Sarno said.
The Radisson Blu 5-star hotel won two awards in the category of Service Excellence in Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events (MESE), as well as the Visitor Experience and Restaurants award.
Radisson Blu owner Vivian Reddy said the prize money would be donated to charity. Reddy donated the first R50 000 to Durban Child Welfare and asked the mayor to donate the second R50 000 prize to a charity of his choice.
Other winners were HD N3 TWORK, who scooped the Upcoming Filmmakers Award, as well as Sunsquare Suncoast and Suncoast Towers, which walked away with the Best Hotels honours.
Travel Bug Tours took home the Tour Operators Award, while Durban Walking Tours won under the Tour Guides category.
KZN Music Imbizo was named the winner under the Event Owners and Promoters category.
T&T B&B won the Universal Accessibility and Green Tourism Award, while Guides Connect was named the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur.
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, together with Economic Development and Planning Committee chairperson Thembo Ntuli, presented the Exceptional Achievement Awards.
Ntuli said the award honoured outstanding business players who contributed to job creation, remained competitive, and extensively put Durban on the map. All winners won an international study tour worth R100 000.
Kaunda said the awards, which attracted 155 nominees this year, formed part of the City’s drive to resuscitate the tourism sector.
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