THREE representatives from Tamworth Regional Council, including mayor Col Murray, will join the cream of Australia’s tourism crop at tonight’s Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Hobart.
The 40th Tamworth Country Music Festival became a finalist in the national award in the major festivals and events category, after taking out the 2012 NSW state gold award in the same category.
There are six other finalists in the same category as Tamworth: the Tasmanian Taste Festival; Perth’s 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships; Audi’s Hamilton Island Race Week; Canberra’s Floriade 2011 – A Feast for the Senses; and Adelaide’s Fringe festival.
To win the top state award the country music festival edged out the Byron Bay Bluesfest and the Sydney Royal Easter Show to take gold.
Festival organisers were delighted with that achievement and said yesterday they were excited ahead of tonight’s event.
“Winning the state award was a significant recognition for the hard work and dedication that the festival stakeholders, partners and the Tamworth community put into building our festival for over 40 years,” he said.
Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett, who will travel with the mayor and festival co-ordinator Kate Baker to the awards, said he was hopeful of success at the event.
“We are very excited our festival has already been recognised at a state level, to be in the running for a national award is very exciting and speaks volumes about the quality of our festival.”
All-in-all tonight there are 179 tourism operators from around Australia, all of whom won their state or territory award category, vying for the top gong.
There are about 30 categories, ranging from major tourist attractions, major festivals and events, ecotourism, indigenous tourism and business tourism to tourist pubs and local government awards for tourism, that will be recognised tonight.
The awards, sponsored by Qantas, are the Australian tourism industry’s peak awards and are designed to recognise and promote excellence in tourism across the country.
Now in their 28th year, the awards were established by the federal government in 1985 and are managed by the National Tourism Alliance.
Tasmania was chosen as the location for the awards this year after taking out a record five gongs at the 2012 Australian Tourism Awards.
More than 600 people from various parts of the tourism industry and events sectors nationally attended the awards last year.