Buffalo City Metro is expected to host the prestigious provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards for the first time next month.
This follows a request by the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) for the city to host the awards for three years.
The awards which started in 2013 as part of a national initiative by the Department of Tourism, have for the past three years been held in Port Elizabeth and BCM is now set to take over from this year to 2018.
But the awards will come to BCM at a cost. The metro has to contribute about R250000 towards the awards ceremony.
In a report submitted to council, BCM’s economic development and agencies’ project specialist Noludwe Ncokazi said the city was expected to provide the venue, decor and catering for 300 people and assist with logistical arrangements.
The Lilizela Tourism Awards were started in an effort to recognise and reward the hard work of tourism role players and businesses “who work tirelessly and passionately to deliver a world-class product and service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global competitiveness”.
Other provinces will also be holding their own ceremonies which will pave a way for a national awards ceremony where provincial winners will compete.
In her report, Ncokazi recommended the council approve the hosting of the awards for three years.
“The Eastern Cape has always by far had the largest number of entries compared to other provinces,” she said.
“Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency is requesting Buffalo City Metro to be the host city for the provincial event for the next three years until 2018.”
Ncokazi added that the event would be held in September during tourism month.
The Dispatch understands the awards will take place on September 15 at Hemingways.
With at least four categories this year, the awards are aimed at enhancing job creation through sustainable tourism businesses that are active in the tourism industry, identifying and rewarding emerging businesses in the tourism sector and building capacity to boost productivity.
BCM said they were hoping to get economic benefits from the ceremony, including a boost in hospitality income, profiling of the city as the host and a boost for local artists and local suppliers.
ECPTA’s Keketso Kostile said it was ECPTA’s view that the hosting of the tourism awards must be in different regions of the province so as to spread the benefits that come with hosting.
“It is envisaged that national winners will be awarded in the Gauteng province in October,” Kostile said. — firstname.lastname@example.org