Best bars, hotels and venues to be honoured at 2018 Hospitality and Tourism Awards

Brad Watts 20 July 2018

Gala dinner – More than 450 people are expected to attend the AHA ACT Hospitality and Tourism Awards to celebrate excellence in the sector. Photo: Supplied.

Canberra’s leading hotels, bars, restaurants and licensed venues will be on show at the 2018 Hospitality and Tourism Awards hosted by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ACT Branch tonight (23 July).

More than 450 people – including tourism, hospitality and political leaders – are expected to attend the prestigious event at the National Convention Centre that will honour the ACT’s most outstanding licensed venues and accommodation hotels.

With a major focus on showcasing Canberra’s leading tourism businesses and local attractions, the annual Awards event will also recognise outstanding local hospitality employees working in the sector.

A wide selection of entries has been across more than 32 categories; including Best Hotel Restaurant, Best Cocktail Bar, Best Wine List, Best Marketed Hotel, Best Tourism Initiative, Best Environmental Practice, Best Local and Best Late Night Entertainment Venue. Another hotly contested Award to be given out will the Best Tourist attraction.

AHA ACT Event Manager Natalie Weber said the Gala Awards night had been renamed this year – from the previous Hospitality Awards – to highlight the importance of the local tourism sector.

“The new name of the event – the Hospitality & Tourism Awards – emphasises the integral part the growing local tourism sector plays in supporting hospitality in the ACT,” Ms Weber said.

“Tourism essentially brings people to Canberra and feeds into hospitality – so we really wanted to showcase tourism and how they support venues around town.”

Winners are grinners – around 32 Awards will be presented at the event including Best Bar and Best Restaurant. Photo: Supplied.

A special presentation will also be made during the Awards night involving television commercials and photos to outline the “big focus on tourism” for the hospitality sector.

There are several new Awards this year, including the Best Specialist Themed Restaurant to recognise local restaurants and licensed venues serving cuisine from certain countries or international regions.

“There has also been strong support and entries for new Awards introduced last year including the Best Beer, Best Steak and Best Burger in Canberra,” she said. “We have quite a lot of nominees for these emerging categories that everyone loves.”

One of the major highlights will also see special lifetime Awards presented to prominent leaders of the local hospitality and tourism sector including the John Press Award – for an outstanding leader from a local licensed venue – and the Member of the Year Award given to an innovative leader from the local accommodation sector.

“These Awards will be announced at the beginning of the night so we can pay tribute to these outstanding leaders who have served the hospitality and tourism sector over many years,” Ms Weber said.

Following the conclusion of the Awards night which will have representatives from both sides of local politics as well as leaders from VisitCanberra, the winners and attendees are expected to celebrate into the night at the After Party to be held at the popular 1980s-theme venue 88 MPH in Civic.

“I’m sure some people are looking forward to celebrating and are ready to party like its 1988,” Ms Weber said.

Winners of the local AHA ACT Awards will be eligible to attend the AHA National Awards for Excellence to be held in September on the Gold Coast this year.

What’s your favourite bar, restaurant, cafe or hotel in Canberra and why?

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