The 2009/10 Welcome Awards winners, sponsored by First National Bank (FNB) Commercial, were announced at a glittering award ceremony at Indaba in Durban on May 9.
Kapama Private Game Reserve walked away winner of the parks category, while Cape Grace scooped the accommodation award. Best tour operator was Edge of Africa, best tourist attraction is Vergelegen Wines and the School of Tourism and Hospitality in Gauteng clinched the restaurant category. Collen Sibuyi of Mpumalanga was named best tour guide and These winners represent the pinnacle of service excellence in the tourism industry.
Deputy Minister of Tourism, Thokozile Xasa, keynote speaker at the awards evening, congratulated winners on their dedication to making service delivery a top priority, as this has a direct impact on South Africa's reputation to deliver a world class tourism experience.
Says Hanneli Slabber, Global Manager: Product: "We congratulate these winners who are the cream of the tourism crop. They have embraced quality service delivery and their overall performance demonstrates their readiness to welcome visitors to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™."
The winners were praised for raising the bar of service delivery, providing visitors with excellent service to entice them to come back and visit. Their products and services were innovative, met and went beyond visitors expectations and inculcated a culture of a great hosting nation.
Of great importance when judged, was the overall impression they portrayed of a consistently high standard and that they demonstrated professionalism in their approach to customer service.
Pieter de Bruin, Head of the Tourism Division at FNB Commercial, said: "The quality of winners this year truly reflects service excellence. We are inspired by their commitment, passion and hard work to create authentic South African experiences that showcase our diversity, richness and cultural heritage.
"It is of vital importance that the industry strives for service excellence to ignite and encapsulate a welcoming spirit with only month to go to the World Cup. We want visitors to remember us a warm hospitable nation so that they go home, ambassadors for South Africa," concludes de Bruin.
Excellent service is fundamental to the visitor experience. The winners of the Welcome Awards have recognised and in turn been rewarded for delivering on this premise in their businesses. The Welcome Awards entries for 2010/11 will open in July 2010.