WITH 15 finalists, four first prizes, several second and third prizes and a Special Judges Recommendation, Tsogo Sun emerged as the forerunner in sustainable tourism at this year’s inaugural National Department of Tourism (NDT) and FEDHASA Lilizela-Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism.
This inaugural NDT Lilizela Awards, designed to inspire excellence in the tourism industry, include the prestigious Imvelo Awards for ResponsibleTourism Awards, which have been under custodianship of FEDHASA since inception in 2001. The Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism is now the ‘sustainable development’ category of the Lilizela Awards and to add value, this year each of the Lilizela-Imvelo Awards had big establishment prizes as well as a small establishment prizes to ensure that entrants competed with like-sized businesses.
The winners were Riverside Sun Resort in the big establishment section of the Best Practice – Economic Impact category; Garden Court Hatfield (Pretoria) in the big Investing in People category; Garden Court Ulundi (KwaZulu-Natal) in the small Investing in People category; and Garden Court Hatfield as the big Most Empowered Tourism Business.
Two Tsogo Sun hotels tied in second place in the big Best Overall Environmental Management System – Sandton Sun and InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers – both in Gauteng. Riverside Sun Resort won third prize in the big Investing in People category while second place for small establishments went to Garden Court Polokwane in Limpopo; and third place to Garden Court Eastgate in Gauteng. A Special Judges Recommendation
in the Best Practice – Economic Impact category was awarded to Garden Court
South Beach in KwaZulu-Natal.
“We have watched with pride as our hotels have set themselves new targets and attained higher standards in responsible tourism, and so it is extremely gratifying to see so many making it onto the finalists lists and then onto the podium at these prestigious awards, particularly considering that this year saw a record number of entrants in the competition,” says General Manager – Group Communications for Tsogo Sun, Priya Naidoo.
Naidoo adds that the broad spread of Tsogo Sun finalists across the different categories clearly shows the group’s “wholehearted commitment to best practice in economic impact, empowerment, investing in people, environmental management systems, water conservation and energy conservation.
“Sustainable tourism is becoming more and more important in tourists’ decision-making about where to go and where to stay – we will always pride ourselves on being able to offer memory-making experiences at every one of our hotels, while also ensuring that our responsible tourism practices are exemplary,” adds Naidoo.
Commenting on Tsogo Sun’s ongoing commitment to responsible tourism, as evidenced in this year’s Lilizela-Imvelo Awards, Chairman of FEDHASA Eddy Khosa says, “Tsogo Sun has proven year after year that, through a strategic and concerted effort, driven from the highest levels, hospitality establishments can implement environmental management policies that result in positive change.”
Commitment to drive sustainable, and therefore responsible tourism practices, is also the outcome of large-scale investments from the Imvelo Awards for Responsible Tourism public and private sector partners – the National Department of Tourism, the Departments of Water Affairs, Eskom, Absa and the Industrial Development Corporation, Mr Khosa added.