Speaking at the Lilizela Tourism Awards in Johannesburg recently, Derek Hanekom (Minister of Tourism), who presented the Award, said South Africa’s reputation as a world-class tourism destination continued to grow.
The Lilizela Awards recognise and reward tourism players and businesses who work passionately and with pride to deliver a world class product and service and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness. Aquila Private Game Reserve is proud to be a part of growing the South African economy and creating jobs.
Owner of Aquila Searl Derman has always been committed to uplifting the town of Touws River, ever since hearing about the withdrawal of the railway from the town in the 1980's. This left massive unemployment of approximately 97% of a town of 9000 people. Derman has been recognised as 'Champion of the Poor' by the press and has been featured on Carte Blanche and Fokus for his award winning social upliftment and conservation efforts that have sustained the town. These include; a soup kitchen that has swopped food for litter and feeds previously disadvantaged children up to 12,000 meals per month. By cleaning the town, the recycled litter is sold, and the funds are used to pay for the school teachers. Derman continues to support the old age home and developed youth by sponsoring the town's rugby, cricket and soccer teams. Furthermore, Derman has donated approximately ten thousand blankets over the past 10 years, providing at least 1 blanket to almost every person in the town.
Aquila Private Game Reserve won the award in the category, with the V&A Waterfront who was the runner-up.