Sunday, 20 January 2019

Cde Mac Jack Hosts Lilizela Tourism Awards 2018

Innovation within the township economy, topnotch service within the hospitality industry and tour-guiding industriousness reverberated at the Northern Cape’s 2018 instalment of the tourism sector’s acclaimed Lilizela Tourism Awards. Phenomenally at Galeshewe’s Batsumi Luxury Guesthouse last night; the aptly named and trendsetting The Workshop Ko Kasi of Mothibistad in Kuruman scooped the category Visitor Experience for Culture & Lifestyle and finalist in the categories Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ATEYA) and Roots & Culture.

The Workshop Ko Kasi is an eco-tourism hub that boasts a unique business model in sheltering from mainly recycled materials an eatery, craft shop and a traditional African spa. Tourists are taken on cultural tours on donkey cart trips with storytelling sessions, regular pop-up markets and other events also being conducted.

“The Workshop Ko Kasi provides an authentic tourism experience. It is also a place where total strangers can meet at and end up being friends. And through our Baagisani Pop-Up Markets which we host every second month, we collaborate with mainly local young entrepreneurs in providing them with a clientbase platform and in so doing promoting entrepreneurship,” enthused Mpho Cornelius a young entrepreneur and founder of The Workshop Ko Kasi.

In the topmost Accommodation-Hotel category; Kimberley’s magnificent five-star and architectural gem in the Kimberley Anne Small Luxury Hotel, broke the high-end hospitality stranglehold of Upington and largely the Green Kalahari. Also giving Kimberley something to write home about was in the Oleander Guest House getting the nod in the uppermost Accommodation-Guest House category. However, Upington’s splendour shone again in the category; Meetings, Exhibitions and Special Events (MESE) with the honour being bestowed on the attractive Naba Lodge Conference Facility.

The names for the future in South Africa’s tourism sector’s Nature Guide and Cultural Guide segments are those of Kabelo Mothupi and David Lesego Tlhabanelo who will together with The Workshop Ko Kasi and other category winners represent the Northern Cape at the national Lilizela Tourism Awards on 27 October 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

Lightheartedly in the award ceremony keynote address, MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mac Jack warned South African Tourism’s representative Neil Nagooroo that he should not be invited to the national awards if the province is not set to produce a national winner.

On a serious tone, MEC Jack decried what he dubbed the “slow pace of transformation” within the sector, committing government to advancing the “Township Tourism agenda without fear or favour.”

In being worth his salt as a service delivery orientated politician, MEC Jack unraveled funding support measures. “We have invited applications for tourism grants last month and I therefore urge our prospective tourism entrepreneurs to apply for these grants which cater for Tourism Enterprise Development and Tourism Festivals and Events respectively.”

By Thabo Mothibi

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