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May 10, 2010

Cape Town tourism businesses scoop top honours in Welcome Awards

Cape Grace hotel, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Cape Grace hotel with Table Mountain as a backdrop. Photo courtesy Cape Grace hotel

The Cape Grace hotel and Vergelegen Wines won top honours in the 2009/10 Welcome Awards ceremony at INDABA (an annual tourism marketing event) in Durban last night, May 9.

The Cape Grace a five-star hotel in the V&A Waterfront won the best hotel and the best overall accommodation establishment award. Vergelegen Wines in Somerset West won the award for the best tourist attraction in South Africa.

The annual Welcome Awards seek to recognise tourism businesses across South Africa that successfully identify, meet and exceed visitor expectations, add value to their visitors’ experiences and make them feel special and welcome. Entrants are evaluated on specific criteria for each category as well as on overall items such as price, living up to advertising claims and satisfying visitor expectations created by references. The assessments also place emphasis on the attitudes and behaviour of employees.

In addition to the overall category winners, there were various sub-category awards. The Backpack won the sub-category for best backpackers and hostelling/caravan and camping sites. Toni Shina and Lee Harris, joint owners of the Backpack, bounded onto stage with huge smiles to accept the award. The duo started the business nearly 20 years ago and continues to actively run the Fair Trade in Tourism-accredited business in the centre of Cape Town.

The best tour operator sub-category, for businesses operating for fewer than five years (but more than two years), was won by Edge of Africa. This small, dedicated “voluntourism” operator is based in Knysna, but is a member of Cape Town Tourism. Edge of Africa also won the best overall tour operator award.

Other winners were:

  • Restaurants: School of Tourism and Hospitality (Gauteng)
  • Travel agencies: Flight Centre Gateway (KwaZulu-Natal)
  • Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE): South African Reserve Bank Conference Centre (Gauteng)
  • Tourist guides: Collen Sibuyi (Mpumalanga)
  • Online (best website): City Lodge hotels

Hanneli Slabber, South African Tourism’s global manager: product, congratulated the winners for “embracing quality service delivery especially ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™”.

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