Leading regional tourism businesses, events, and visitor experiences stretching from the Great Lakes region to the Tweed have been recognised at the 2018 North Coast Regional Tourism Awards in Coffs Harbour this evening.
Winners in 13 categories were announced at the gala awards ceremony from finalists including local councils, tourism businesses, events, restaurants, wineries and accommodation providers. More than 200 industry representatives were in attendance to see who would take home the coveted awards and witness the induction of nine businesses into the Hall of Fame.
Category winners from the Regional Tourism Awards will now gain finalist status upon entering the NSW Tourism Awards to be held in Sydney later this year.
Regional Tourism Awards Chair, Jane Barnes, congratulated all winners and finalists on their contribution to regional tourism.
“Finalists in this year’s program were of a high calibre with a number of first-time entrants on the list. We are thrilled to recognise the best of the North Coast tourism industry tonight and wish our winners the best of luck as they progress to compete against operators from the entire state,” said Ms. Barnes.
Jacquie Burnside, Acting General Manager of Destination North Coast, praised the awards gala as an opportunity for industry to gain recognition for their efforts, as well as providing the impetus for stakeholders to come together, network and learn from each other. “We are proud of the strong industry support for the awards program across our destination network with a fantastic turn-out in Coffs Harbour tonight. All winners and finalists are to be congratulated for their efforts to enhance the North Coast region’s profile as a leading regional destination.”
In association with the gala, Destination North Coast hosted the inaugural North Coast Tourism Symposium yesterday. A networking and business development day, it saw over 110 of the region’s tourism operators and event organisers engage in sessions with experts on topics including destination management, nature-based tourism, food and agritourism, business events, and inclusive tourism.
The final 2018 gala event is for the Destination Country & Outback region and will be held in Orange this Saturday, 28 July.
2018 North Coast Regional Tourism Award winners
Gold: Forestry Corporation of NSW, Coffs Harbour
Silver: Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, Port Macquarie
Bronze: The Big Banana Pty Ltd, Coffs Harbour
Finalist: Koala Preservation Society, Port Macquarie
Festivals and Events
Gold: Lismore City Council, “Eat the Street”
Silver: Woolgoolga Curryfest
Finalist: Bonville Golf Resort
Gold: Byron Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks
Silver: Jetty Dive Centre
Gold: Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail
Silver: Port Macquarie Museum
Encouragement Award: Bunker Cartoon Gallery
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism
Gold: Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation, Coffs Harbour
Silver: Wajaana Yaam Gumbaynggirr Adventure Tours, Coffs Harbour
Specialised Tourism Services
Gold: Arts Mid North Coast Inc
Gold: Coffs Harbour City Council, Coffs Harbour
Finalist: Clarence Valley Council, Clarence Valley
Caravan and Holiday Parks
Gold: BIG4 Great Lakes at Foster-Tuncurry
Silver: Reflections Holiday Parks Seal Rocks, Seal Rocks
Gold: Riverside Holiday Resort Urunga, Urunga
Silver: Macquarie Waters Boutique Apartments, Port Macquarie
Gold: Heritage Hotel Motel, Dorrigo
Finalist: Vacation Village Resort, Port Macquarie
New Tourism Business
Gold: Open Air Picnics
Excellence in Food Tourism
Gold: The Cheesemaking Workshop, Coffs Harbour
Tourism Education and Training
Gold: TEACH at TAFE NSW Wollongbar, Wollongbar
Hall of Fame Inductees
The Big Banana Fun Park, Coffs Harbour (Major Tourist Attractions)
Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay (Major Festivals and Events)
Port Macquarie Museum, Port Macquarie (Cultural Tourism)
Arakwal Dolphin Dreaming, Byron Bay (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism)
State Forests of the Coffs Coast, Coffs Harbour (Specialised Tourism Services)
Lismore and Nimbin Visitor Information Centres, Lismore (Visitor Information Services)
TEACH at Wollongbar TAFE, Wollongbar (Tourism Education & Training)
Bent on Food, Wingham (Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services)
Park Beach Holiday Park, Coffs Harbour (Caravan and Holiday Parks)