Glitz and Gratitude: South Africa's Hospitality Heroes Shine at Inaugural FEDHASA Awards

World Travel Market Africa concluded last week on Friday, 12 April, with a glitzy event in Century City as FEDHASA hosted the first of what many hope to be an annual event, the FEDHASA Hospitality Awards.

Key players in the hospitality industry were present, including our very own Minister of Tourism South Africa, Patricia de Lille. 

"Tourism and hospitality are powerful vehicles to showcase our country and all we have to offer as we draw visitors," said Minister de Lille."But it's the people of our country that are at the heart of our hospitality sector. I want to express my deep gratitude to all the winners. Your commitment is what keeps us at the top of many global destinations. Let us use the euphoria of days like today to motivate us to work harder and exceed standards to be a global leader in hospitality and tourism."

Aunty Pat breaking it down to Bruno Mars - Now that's a GOOD Party!

The FEDHASA Hospitality Awards were designed to formally recognise and celebrate the exceptional contributions of companies and individuals in South Africa’s hospitality industry in the categories of leadership, operations, sustainability, customer service and culinary excellence. The intention is to foster a spirit of continuous improvement, collaboration and innovation. 
As someone who has spent more than six years of their career working in hospitality, I understand that individuals can often make massive contributions to the positive experiences of the guests that they serve, and instead of getting the credit for this, it’s attributed to the brand of the company they work for.  It was incredibly heartwarming to see individual people acknowledged for their hard work. 

I clean up almost as well as the winners (It's funny because they're in hospitality) 

"The FEDHASA Hospitality Awards were created to celebrate the incredible talent and
dedication of hospitality professionals across Southern Africa," said FEDHASA Chairperson
Rosemary Anderson. "This year’s finalists and winners exemplify the passion, innovation
and commitment that drives our industry forward, even in challenging times."

Minister De Lille noted that collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential to growing tourism in South Africa. She was pleased to see categories in the awards that are not often recognised, such as Executive Housekeeper of the Year, Front of House Manager of the Year, and Young Professional of the Year.
Particularly heartwarming was the final award of the night which went to “Leader of the Year” Denise Stubbs, the Managing Director of Thokozani. 

Denise Stubbs of Thokozani accepting her award

Thokozani is an empowerment company owned by 65 Diemersfontein Wine Estate employees who are the majority shareholders of the Diemersfontein brand where they collectively own 16 four-star guest houses, a conference centre and a wine label that is exported to seven different countries. 

The winner in each category was awarded R10 000. The full list of winners can be found here.  

Lee-Anne Singer, Chairperson of FEDHASA Cape, encouraged all FEDHASA members to nominate their exemplary employees for the upcoming FEDHASA Hospitality Awards 2025.

Congratulations to all of the winners, as well as to FEDHASA for pulling off such a wonderful event, with the help of Big Ambitions Marketing and a slew of incredible sponsors including Mukuru and Profitroom.

And, no, the robot waiter didn't win any awards ...this year

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