The Gorge Private Game Lodge and Spa were recently honoured to win the prestigious provincial Lilizela Tourism Awards.
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Hailed as “the best of the best”, they were selected from 1 385 entries and will now represent the province and go forward to the national finals to be hosted by the Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom in Johannesburg next month.
The Lilizela Tourism Awards are an initiative of the National Department of Tourism and are spearheaded by South African Tourism.
The sixth Lilizela awards, which recognises service excellence, were presented by Sihle Zikalala, the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs at a glittering gala event at the Sani Pass Premier Resort in the southern Drakensberg.
Mike Cross, sales and marketing director of the five-star The Gorge situated in scenic Oribi Gorge, said they are thrilled and so excited that The Gorge has won this prestigious 2018 Lilizela ‘Best Lodge In KwaZulu-Natal (KZN)’ service excellence award.
This is such an incredible testimony to our staff for their tireless commitment serving our guests. It is a privilege to work with staff who are so passionate about service excellence. Not only is this a tough competition as you compete against the best of the best in your province, the criteria used by the national judges are also of the highest standard.
Mr Cross said they sincerely hope that we can make the South Coast proud by bringing back this year’s national trophy.
Mr Zikalalathe told guests on the night that winning the country’s premier tourism award does not only set a business apart, but it also encourages others to strive for the coveted top honour.
“The honourees this evening represents the creme de la crème in the KwaZulu-Natal tourism sector, who make providing excellent service not just a practice, but a way of life,” said Mr Zikalalathe.
“Nothing compares to the joy and satisfaction of displaying a Lilizela Award plaque in your reception or entrance hall. Those who win should remember that they have been recognised by no less than 80 percent of the votes from the public. As I said at last year’s ceremony, this is a highly competitive global industry and success does not happen overnight.”
He said it takes hard work and devotion to make every tourist’s visit memorable.
It takes product innovation and service excellence to ensure that each visitor returns home as word-of-mouth ambassadors and mobile billboards for KZN. I am told that there were a total of 1385 entries in various categories in the Lilizela Awards in KZN this year. Fifty businesses have made it to the finals and 35 owners and enterprise representatives will lift the winning trophies high in the air tonight.
*** The Gorge Private Game Lodge & Spa is nestled in the pristine area of Kwazulu-Natal’s South Coast, a mere 35km inland from Port Shepstone. The opulent, eco-friendly design of the spacious villas boasts double volume glass, offering guests panoramic views of the magnificent Oribi Gorge.