South Africa shines at the African Tourism Leadership Awards. Picture: Pexels

It was a rigorous evaluation process but the best of the best have been nominated for this year's Africa Tourism Leadership Awards (ATLA). 

The committee was co-chaired by Judy Kepher-Gona, Executive Director at Kenya’s Sustainable Travel & Tourism Agenda, and Marina Novelli, Professor of Tourism and International Development and Responsible Futures’ Academic Lead at the University of Brighton, UK. 

Categories for the African Tourism Leadership Awards are

  • Leading in Progressive Policies’ Award
  • Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award
  • Women in Leadership Award 
  • Most Innovative Business Tourism Destination Award 
  • Outstanding Accommodation Facility / Group Award 
  • Outstanding Tourism Transportation Award 
  • Outstanding Africa Tourism Media & Marketing Award 
  • Championing Sustainability Award 
  • Destination Africa - Lifetime Award 

Francine Zana has been nominated for the Women in Leadership Award and African Parks, Mantis Collection, Fly Mango, Avis South Africa and Rainmaker Digital are local businesses also in line for accolades.

Announcing the finalists, Judy Kepher Gona said: “The African tourism sector is growing with many new entrants offering competitive tourism products. 

It was quite a task for the evaluation team to reduce the nominees to 24 finalists. We are however confident that we have managed to identify the individuals and enterprises who are doing excellent work in the sector,” she says

Professor Novelli agrees and says the awards recognise innovators and game-changers in Africa’s travel and tourism sector. 

“Particular attention and recognition is given to nominees who have shown commitment to leadership through sustainability and innovation in tourism practices,” she says. “ATLA is the only Pan-African travel and tourism awards that seeks to recognise these key attributes. 

It focuses on change-making pioneered by Africans, in Africa and for Africans. Winners will be announced at the the awards’ night, an ultimate and must-attend Pan-African travel and tourism networking gathering,” says Professor Novelli

The awards ceremony will bring together thought leaders and other industry stakeholders of the African travel and tourism sector at the close of the 2019 Africa Tourism Leadership Forum scheduled for August 27-29, and will be held under the theme Stimulating intra-Africa travel through thought leadership