Dear Colleagues and Provincial Partners
Trust that you are all well, staying safe and wish you all a prosperous 2022.
Since the inception of this pilot initiative, so much had changed and we had decided to pause in quarter 3 and review this project given that we had only received 108 story submissions. The economic impact of the Delta and Omicron variant had further negatively impacted our industry with more businesses closing and job losses. And as you are all aware, we were initially unable to implement the normal official Lilizela Tourism Awards in its original format this fiscal year.
The third wave had hit the country really badly last year with the violence and looting further crippling the economy and then towards the end of last year the fourth wave brought by the Omicron variant hit our shores. And yet, despite all of this, there are still tourism products and businesses that have managed to stay open.
As you know, South African Tourism had embarked on a tactical initiative to honour, acknowledge and collect the stories of tourism products that have been innovative within their businesses and found creative ways to keep their businesses open and/or retain some of their employees. And we wish to thank you for sending the original communication last year and getting your product to participate. Our intention with this initiative was to honour these heroes that have been able to keep their businesses open, share their stories, salute them for their courage and thank them for their resilience. To support these tourism businesses, we will also further ensure that they participate in the Domestic campaign with their special deals and or rates to help them continue to survive, via the Domestic Tourism Deals Driven Campaign. We are also in the process of considering a complete re-think of this program for the next fiscal year and want to find creative solutions to provide tangible incentives and rewards for our industry, given that our world has completely changed and our industry is bleeding for support.
Just to recap, remember that we opened the story submissions last year and closed them on the 31 August 2021 and due to the fact that so much has changed, as well as post an engagement with our shareholder, the National Department of Tourism, a decision was taken to give more products and establishments another opportunity to participate, especially those that did not have the time or means to do so in the first round. We will be promoting and profiling the stories we have received so far, as a build up to the event.
If you know of anyone in tourism that has found ways to keep their business afloat in some format or way, we are asking you to please encourage them to participate and click on this link https://forms.gle/4uWdzvwtQH7VSBdj7 and follow the instructions. We are also providing a manual form for the tour guides as an option, and note that this second chance will close for all submissions on the 12th February 2022 at 12h00pm.
Please share this communication with your region, tourism members and tour guides to help us to collect these survival stories from your beautiful provinces. The link above does not make provision for videos etc, so if some of these businesses have additional audio visual materials to add, they can attach them separately in an email to [email protected], as we will be creating profiles for each participant. Also, the Events team led by Zinhle Nzama, will host a small event on the 28 February 2022 in Gauteng in honour of these surviving tourism businesses and more details on that will follow.
Trust that this clarifies and please feel free to contact myself should you need any further clarity.
Warmest tourism regards