More than 300 people will celebrate excellence in Canberra’s growing tourism industry at the 2018 Canberra Region Tourism Awards gala dinner on Friday, November 23.
Showcasing the region’s best and most innovative tourism organisations, leaders and initiatives, the prestigious annual awards will embrace a Masquerade Ball theme this year at the newly-refurbished Hotel Realm.
Entrants will contest more than 30 categories, including awards for outstanding accommodation, food, tourism, events, wineries, distilleries and breweries.
Hosted by the National Capital Attractions Association (NCAA) with support from VisitCanberra, the event is an opportunity to highlight the best of the Canberra’s regions’ tourism businesses as well as promote, encourage and reward tourism excellence.
The popular event – which will feature a keynote speech by ACT Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Andrew Barr – are open to all tourism businesses and suppliers to the tourism industry and demonstrate the value of tourism to Canberra and the region.
With strong growth in the local industry, NCAA President Naomi Dale said: “We’re so spoilt for choice in regards to the tourism, hospitality and events sectors in the region – we always end up celebrating some amazing winners at this gala event.
“We really are punching above our weight – Canberra’s region is competing with much larger regions and States and often we still manage to come away with national Awards – we’re doing an incredible job as an industry.
“This sector has a large impact on the local economy and visitor numbers are growing – so it’s a real success story.”
Along with well-known awards for major tourist attractions, festivals and events and ecotourism, several relatively new categories have been added – including New Tourism Business and International Ready Awards – to embrace the growing nature of the sector.
“These awards have come about because we have so many new people coming into the market,” Ms Dale told Region Media.
This year there have been some “terrific” entries and there will be some “very stiff competition” across all categories adjudicated by a panel of judges, who have a strong knowledge of the operations of the tourism industry.
“We also only award winners who are at a national level,” Ms Dale said.
She said it was the first year a special theme has been added for the event and Ms Dale said it would be interesting to see how guests incorporate the masquerade concept into their outfits.
“We will see people celebrating and enjoying the excellence we have in Canberra but also looking towards new people that could be brought into the fold.
“Tourism is everyone’s business so we need to work together and it’s a really great way of celebrating what we do well together.”
Ms Dale said the awards entry process also helped local tourism businesses to benchmark themselves nationally against other similar businesses and organisations.
This year, the event will also highlight that the ACT will be becoming part of the national quality tourism framework to be launched at the end of the year.
“This will be a formalised way around providing workshops and information for businesses to become accredited in the tourism space,” Ms Dale said.
All local winners will be announced on Friday night and can represent the ACT region at the Australian tourism awards in Launceston, Tasmania next March.