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Isaiah Banda from Mabula Game Lodge wins National Award for Best Nature Tourist Guide
The Lilizela Tourism Awards is the leading tourism awards programme in South Africa. The awards celebrate and reward excellence in the tourism industry, and recognise businesses and people who provide world class service, playing a key role in growing our country as an exceptional tourist destination.
Isaiah Banda, the Wildlife Services Manager at Mabula Game Lodge, was nominated in the Nature Guides category, and won the Provincial Nature Guide of the year for Limpopo 2014. Isaiah then represented Limpopo, and Mabula Game Lodge, in the National Awards which was held in Johannesburg on 9 October, where he was presented with the National Nature Guide of the Year Award for 2014.
The category of Tourist Guides gives recognition to tourist guides that have excelled in their profession. These men and women establish an important connection between tourists and the many attractions of our country. Their role is vital in promoting South Africa as a unique and remarkable destination.
With such a rich natural heritage in South Africa, Nature Guides are essential to enhance our tourists’ experiences. Expert Nature guides have comprehensive knowledge about the history, flora and fauna, and environment of a particular region, and they are eager to share this knowledge.
Addressing the finalists at the award ceremony, South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom said that while some of the people in attendance would be leaving with an award, everyone in the industry was a winner.
Hanekom cited the tourism industry’s contribution to GDP, which is 9% and outweighs the contribution made by traditional core sectors such as gold mining. Moreover, Hanekom said, the industry creates one in every 11 jobs in the country. “You are all co-creators of our success story,” he said.