The best of the best in the tourism industry is invited to apply for this year's Lilizela Awards. This picture was taken at last year's national awards. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

Entries for the esteemed Lilizela Tourism Awards for accommodation establishments and 
tourism-related products and services opened this month. The annual awards 
recognise and reward tourism players and businesses who work with tireless pride to 
deliver world-class products and services, growing South Africa’s global competitiveness
as a destination in the process. 
The Lilizela Tourism Awards have been honouring the “best of the best” products, 
experiences and people in the South African tourism sector since 2012. An initiative of the 
National Department of Tourism and spearheaded by South African Tourism, the annual 
awards ceremony is always a star-studded and celebratory affair. 
“The Lilizela Tourism Awards give us the opportunity to celebrate passionate and 
committed trailblazers as well as service excellence in the South African tourism 
industry,” said South African Tourism’s Chief Executive Officer, Sisa Ntshona.
“We are proud that through the Lilizela Tourism Awards, we have increased awareness of
the important role that tourism plays in spurring on economic growth in the region. The prestige that is associated with this awards initiative is evidence that South African 
Tourism’s ongoing drive to promote service excellence and product grading through the
Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is yielding positive results for the tourism industry, " he added. 
In 2017, the awards attracted a record number of 1 649 entries, up by about 40% from 
2016’s figure. Tourism businesses across the nine provinces are encouraged to enter. 
Accommodation establishments are required to be graded with the TGCSA to enter and 
those yet to be graded are encouraged to do so on the site. 
The TGCSA is the only recognised and globally benchmarked quality assurance body for 
tourism products in South Africa.