Lilizela Tourism Awards 2017 

There was definitely something in the air, as our group gathered in preparation to leave for Richards Bay and #Umhlathuze District. 

The Lilizela Tourism Awards was to be hosted in just a few hours and we were all excited for the big event. Our group was made up of media from all industries, journalists, travel bloggers, photographers, and radio presenters.

I had my winners picked for the night. Hoping that Umthunzi HotelFairmont Resort, Westville Bnb, Ghost Mountain Inn and Splashyfen would take their wins in their respective categories. 

There were a few hiccups initially with the sound being way to loud for the venue size and as with any awards, many many many acknowledgments. 

I over heard a few product owners complaining about the location being hosted out of KZN, but honestly folks, KZN is not just Durban and we have an amazing province to showcase. 

Let’s jump at any opportunity to explore it. Having said that, the evening was very enjoyable. 

Happy Hippo Backpackers which is based in the point area in Durban, took the Self Catering BackPackers Award, again which was nice to see and quite a few of my picks walked away with their wins. 

To mention a few others: 

  • Big Rush walked away with the win in the Action & Adventure category. 
  • Days At Sea Country House (which I am still to visit) took the 5* Country House Award. 
  • Emma and Nick from Westville BnB took an Award in the Bed and Breakfast Category. 
  • Ezulwini Guesthouse took the TourismKZN ETEYA Award.

The Lilizela Tourism Awards are a great way to remind product owners and guests alike that everything we do, impacts our Tourism. Every smile, every moan, every bit of attention to detail we place in our establishments and our service, is part of how #WeDoTourism. 

We checked into The Richards Hotel by Priemer Hotels, for the evening of the awards immediately bumping into other guests of the event. We all ended up sharing rides and made our way to the event together. 

The Black Tie event was hosted at the Umfolozi Casino, personally I didn’t even realize there was a casino in Umfolozi which meant I was learning and exploring the area from the moment we arrived. 

At the beginning of the evening a joke was made that there were more MECS and Mayors at the event than nominees, however as the evening went on, it was evident that the mix up always at least 70/40. With esteemed and respected individuals representing their communities in joint forces with the product owners in those communities.

Something people often forget, and I can comment on this having just under a good 10 years in hospitality and event management under my arms. Having an accommodation or service(activity) is NOT SOLEY about what you provide as a product owner! 

Whether you’re supplying Bnb, Self Catering, Luxury or Resort, facilities you’re also: 

  • Hiring and employing individuals 
  • Buying food from the local area
  • Promoting the local activities and businesses in the area 
  • Educating your guests in the history of the area 
  • And sometimes even giving tours yourself of the area. 

YOU BECOME THE TOURISM.

So whether you’re dealing with locals who are staying with you, or international guests, what you provide, and how you provide it, will make an impression. 

The Lilizela Tourism Award Nominees are selected by an 80/20 process. 80% of the votes are gathered by reviews, trip advisor scorings and guests ratings. 20% is made up of the judicial selected group. 

That’s means most of your votes are coming from guests who’ve stayed with you, used your service or product, spoken to you, emailed you and engaged with you and your brand one way or the other.

The nominees are choosen because they’ve been voted the best of the best. 

As these are the provincial awards, KZN kicked off the proceedings with our event, making way for all the following provinces, finally ending in a joint National Awards evening in Sandton, Johannesburg!

Personally my feeling from being at the event is not that these awards say ” I won I won I won” they’re more of an encouragement to Do Better, a reminder to always be on top of your game as a service provider.

And that’s a good thing in my books. We got to experience many of the service providers in the Richards Bay and Umhlathuze areas for a few days, after the awards. 

And just as I said above. It makes all the difference when your service provider is on top of their game. 

Having been recently named one of South Africa’s 101 Travel Tuesday Tweeters, by SouthAfrica.To I am so happy to be involved with promoting the #Tourism and Travel in Southern Africa! 

I will be sharing our experiences with you all this Travel Tuesday so watch out for those. 

  • I will be talking about our experience with the Elephants that famed Lawrence Anothony saved at Thula Thula. 
  • Our Sunset Cruise on the Tuzi Gaza Waterfront.
  • Our exploration of the Complex Market in the Umhlathuze District, where we found everything from beds, bras, fish and a gentleman named Ola who speaks fluent Hindi.

#IDoTourism #WeDoTourism and #YouDoTourism 

All photography by Denver Govender at Snapout Photography

Come find me on my most active platform HERE . 

And as always…..

#LoveAndTravelHugs

Cee

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