“To live a life of no travel is like reading only one page of a book,” stated Ms Chrismare Carse, one of the judges of the 7th Annual Cape Winelands District Municipality’s Mayoral Tourism Awards.

The awards celebrate the achievements of businesses in the Cape Winelands tourism industry, showcasing outstanding performers, products and a dedication to service. The ceremony took place on Thursday, September 26 2019 and brought together the best that tourism in the Cape Winelands has to offer. It was an event that truly honoured our tourism family and the visitors to our district.

 In 2019/20, the international theme for tourism is ‘Job creation through tourism’. As a district municipality, the CWDM strives to grow an economy that benefits all in the community, and therefore one of the focus areas of management and Council is to create opportunities for social and economic development.

Executive Mayor Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht explained, “We are involved in tourism because we recognise the opportunity for economic growth and skills development, and to build the intellectual capital that our tourism industry offers.” 

Wine Destination This award is given to the wine destination (or any other form of distillery/brewery) that offers a unique and diverse experience to visitors. Executive Mayor Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht (CWDM) is seen here with the winner, Val du Charron of Wellington and the runner-up, BlueVine of Montagu.

In an effort to recognise the valuable input of the tourism sector, the CWDM confers the Mayoral Tourism Award on local establishments that treat guests in such a manner that they keep coming back. This year’s categories were Service Excellence, Wine (or Distillery) Tourism Destination, Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development, and a Mayoral Discretionary Award was bestowed on an individual, entity, project, festival or event that makes a significant impact on the tourism industry. 

The winner in the category Sustainable Development was Fynbos Guest Farm outside Tulbagh. They offer camping and self-catering chalets, each with its own relaxed feel. There are a number of animals for children to feed, a few enigmatic emus, some potbelly pigs and the most gorgeous peacocks – all rescued animals. The runner-up in this category was the off-the-grid African Game Lodge situated about 32 km outside Montagu.

The winner in the category Service Excellence: Accommodation, subcategory Luxury Hotels was The Light House Boutique Hotel. Tucked away in Paarl, this luxurious hotel offers a sumptuous environment where your every need is catered for by highly attentive staff. 

Service Excellence This prize is awarded to an enterprise that offers exceptional and excellent services. The winners were: Avalon Springs, Montagu (family accommodation), Big Sky Cottages, Wolseley (self-catering accommodation), The Light House, Paarl (luxury accommodation), Montagu/Ashton LTA (local tourism association). The respective managers and owners are pictured here with Executive Mayor Ald (Dr) Elna von Schlicht (CWDM). Visit their web pages for more information.

In the same category for the subcategory Self-Catering, Big Sky Cottages in Wolseley won first place for their comfortable, facilities, collaboration with local businesses and the pure experience of their space. The well-known Avalon Springs in Montagu was the winner in the subcategory Family Accommodation. For years, these natural warm springs have attracted young and old to their relaxing, safe and comforting arms. The Montagu/Ashton local tourism association walked away with the first prize for their incredible service to tourism in the area.  

Montagu and Franschhoek establishments submitted entries in the Entrepreneurship category. Flying Feet in Montagu is owned and run by the bow-tied Marchelle van Zyl and received the runner-up accolade. They offer walking and bicycle tours designed to fascinate visitors of all ages and for the more adventurous there is the late-evening ghost tour. The new business and winner in this category, Le Tuksi Tuk Tuk Franschhoek, is situated opposite the big church in Main Road and offers tours, pick-ups and drop-offs at various wine cellars as well as many special events that will make your stay in the area a treat. 

There is a good reason why the Cape Winelands is called such, and no tourism award would be complete without a wine tourism destination category. The top wine destination was Val du Charron in Wellington for their wonderful ambience and wide choice of activities, followed by BluVine in Montagu that offers the visitor a New York experience with a local feel and staff who often, quite spontaneously, perform song and dance to the delight of all. 

The CWDM urges locals and visitors alike to visit the webpages of the abovementioned establishments – take a day trip or, even better, stay for a while. After all, we have 1 000 things to do and then some wine!

For a complete guide on how to find these incredible spaces and many more of the Cape Winelands gems, visitors are now able to download a free application on their mobile phones that puts all the events and happenings in the palm of their hand. Simply install the official Cape Winelands Tourism Routes and Events App on your mobile (available in Google Play or Apple Store).

Webpages of the winners and runners-up: 

Val du Charron – www.vdcwines.com

Franschhoek Rond en Bont – www.franschhoek.org.za

Fynbos Guest Farm – www.fynbosguestfarm.co.za

African Game Lodge – www.africangamelodge.co.za

Avalon Springs – www.avalonsprings.co.za

The Light House – www.thelighthouse.co.za

Montagu/Ashton local tourism association – www.montagu-ashton.info

Big Sky Cottages – www.bigskycottages.co.za

Le Tuksi Tuk Tuk Franschhoek – www.tuktukfranschhoek.co.za

BluVines – www.montagu.org.za (new webpage in November: www.bluvine.com)

Flying Feet Tours – Facebook @flyingfeet.southafrica

Pictures: Supplied

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