Addressing the finalists, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom said that while some of the people in attendance would be leaving with an award, everyone in the industry was a winner.
The awards were held at Lyric Gold Reef City, Jozi.
Hanekom cited the tourism industry’s contribution to GDP, which is 9% and outweighs the contribution made by traditional core sectors such as gold mining. Moreover, Hanekom said, the industry creates one in every 11 jobs in the country. “You are all co-creators of our success story,” he said.
The Minister’s Award was given to Mavuso Msimang, current Chair of the Tourism Business Council of SA.
On not- so-rosy thought, these years’ awards entrants dropped to 1500 as opposed to last year’s entries.
Secondly, the contentious issue of transformation within the hospitality industry also raised its ugly head, a headache for Thembi Kunene, Lilizela Awards chairperson.
The North West Province did not bag any award, which did not go well with tourism stakeholders in the province, prompting the likes of Charles Ndabeni, acting HOD department of Tourism in NW, to note that “we must turn the province around”.
Ndabeni speaking on the sidelines- hinted the awards could be held in NW next year.
Metro FM morning show co-host Unathi Msengana, who was the MC for the evening alongside SABC 3 espresso presenter, almost spoiled the event when she asked ‘why don’t you be the Minister of arts & culture’ a comment which sat uncomfortably with guests.
Musical star Vusi Nova entertained the guests.
For complete Lillizela national winners list visit: http://www.lilizela.co.za