Nine fight it out for tourism prize

Zenoyise Madikwa

Zenoyise Madikwa

The overall winner of the Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will be announced in May at the Indaba Hotel, Johannesburg.

The entries opened on September 26 and nine finalists from all provinces were announced after a rigorous judging.

The finalists have each won R10000, mentorship and training as well as a fully paid trip to the travel trade show ITB Berlin, in Germany, next month, and take part in trade workshops. Further judging will also take place at ITB Berlin. The overall wins R100000.

Hanneli Slabber, global manager: product at South African Tourism, said site visits by the judges took place in November and December, and the short-listed candidates then had a month to prepare a presentation on how they would take their enterprises to the next level.

Slabber said that there was a 300 percent increase in the number of entries compared to the previous year.

"This response is an indication that more people are recognising the variety of opportunities available in the tourism industry to create a strong sustainable future in business for themselves," says Slabber.

The judges, whose members represent partner organisation, Southern African Tourism Services Association, Tourism Grading Council, Tourism Enterprise Partnership, South African Breweries, South African Tourism, and the provincial tourism authorities.

The finalists:

l Tebogo Mametja, River Lodge (Limpopo)

l Belinda Malangeni, Lodge (Gauteng)

l Johannes Kaledi, Loving and Blessing Guest Lodge (North West)

l Mathoto Tlokotsi, De Home Ekhaya Guesthouse (Free State)

l Mechack Nkadimang, Hotel Kgalagadi (Northern Cape)

l Maria Nyawula, Victoria Manor Guest House (Eastern Cape)

l Amos Mdluli, Glowing Tourism Services (Mpumalanga)

l Brenda Rooipan, City of Choice Travel and Tours (KwaZulu-Natal)

l Lubabalo Mbontsi, Ekasie Backpackers (Western Cape)