SA has been named the best safari experience in Africa by the Safari Awards Africa 2019.
SA won the award as it came out tops in 10 of the 18 categories of the awards in May.
The award is a differentiator for SA Tourism.
“The importance of this award is that it sets us apart from all the other safari destinations as we have the unique advantage of being able to showcase our world-class ocean safaris with our incredible land safari offerings,” SA Tourism global trade head Bradley Brouwer said.
“Being awarded this prestigious accolade is a true honour.” Henry Hallward, of Miranda Travel Group and non-executive director of travelexpo360.com, an online platform for the travel industry which sponsors the awards, said: “SA is in competition with every other destination, not only in Africa, but in the world, so this award sets it apart.”
The awards are endorsed by the Safari Guild, a travel buyer organisation run by travel professional members.
It boasts 6,500 buyers into Africa, generating some US$3.5bn (R50.3bn) a year.
“The award is a massive endorsement for SA as it tells agents that the Safari Guild is saying they love the South African product and that the country is a great destination,” Hallward said.
One of the award’s 16 international judges Pulse African managing director Sandy Wood, has been in the tourism and safari industry for more than 27 years. She has been judging the awards for 11 years.
“The winners are all world-class operations and that’s why they win. They also demonstrate consistent excellence over time,” Wood said.
Entries are judged over the period of a week after agents and clients nominate and rate them online. Only experiences with a rating over a set number become visible to the judges for them to judge.
“Not all agents and buyers can come to events such as Africa’s Travel Indaba. This platform does not compete with such events, but coexists with them,” Hallward said.