Darryl Erasmus, the Tourism Grading Council’s chief quality assurance officer, and Rebecca Kambule, owner of Rempo Consulting, at the launch of the 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards, which received more than 1 000 high-calibre entries.     Supplied.
Darryl Erasmus, the Tourism Grading Council’s chief quality assurance officer, and Rebecca Kambule, owner of Rempo Consulting, at the launch of the 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards, which received more than 1 000 high-calibre entries. Supplied.
Tourists from all over the world flock to South Africa’s beaches.     African News Agency (ANA) Archive
Tourists from all over the world flock to South Africa’s beaches. African News Agency (ANA) Archive
Durban - The 2019 Lilizela Tourism Awards promises to be the most exciting yet as the calibre of competitors involved are the highest in the seven-year history of the event.

This was among the key announcements made at the Lilizela Tourism Awards launch at the Sun International Time Square Arena and Maslow Hotel in Pretoria last week. More than 1000 entries have been received with little separating the contenders, according to the organisers, indicating the high calibre of quality within the sector.

The awards provide hospitality and tourism businesses with the chance to compete against each other and gauge how they fare against similar businesses in the industry, boosting South Africa’s already high-quality tourism offerings.

Tourism Grading Council of SA (TGCSA) chief quality assurance officer Darryl Erasmus said the awards present graded partners and service providers with an opportunity to gain the exposure they deserve.

“It is not compulsory to grade accommodation and venue establishments in South Africa yet we are blessed to have well over 5000 graded entities in the country. The awards are our opportunity to recognise and celebrate the individuals and businesses who make South Africa the amazing destination it is,” Erasmus said.

He added that they gave businesses an opportunity to measure themselves against their peers.

“Many operators want to know how they are doing compared to others. People also like to be recognised. People thrive on competition and these awards give products the opportunity to measure up against their competitors and learn from each other,” he said.

Erasmus said South Africa’s hospitality standards were ahead of many global destinations he had visited. “South Africa is really fortunate with owners and operators that ensure the foot we put forward is the best one. We outperform many destinations by far in terms of quality offerings. And we can attribute it to the long-standing partnerships with our members and the industry at large,” he said.

The TGCSA publishes its grading criteria online and neighbouring countries actively use the standards for their own quality assurance initiatives. “We are without question a benchmark for the continent,” Erasmus said.

Acting chief executive of South African Tourism Sthembiso Dlamini said the awards and work of the TGCSA had elevated the industry.

“The TGCSA’s grading standards have upped the game for many hospitality establishment and tourism attractions. Even today it continues to push the bar of excellence higher for the industry. It recently enhanced its grading system, introduced new categories, a five-star premium level for ultra-luxury establishments and brought in 17 accolades to recognise and provide differentiation for niche products and services,” Dlamini said.

Before the Lilizela Tourism Awards take place on November 9, its provincial leg will sweep across the country next month with the KwaZulu-Natal event scheduled for September 26.

The Mercury