Tamworth festival the nation’s best

THE Tamworth Country Music Festival’s playing a happy tune after winning the national tourism award for major festival and event last night.

The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards were presented in Hobart with winners announced in 27 categories.

Tamworth claimed the title ahead of Floriade 2011– A Feast for the Senses, ACT, which took out the silver award, and Audi Hamilton Island Race Week in Queensland which took home bronze.

The Tamworth Country Music Festival attracts about 50,000 music fans to the city each year and has injected $2 billion into the local economy since its inception 41 years ago.

Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray, council general manager Paul Bennett and festival co-ordinator Kate Baker attended the awards ceremony.

Tamworth became a finalist after winning the category in the 2012 NSW Tourism Awards.

The Moree Visitor Information Centre was a finalist in the Visitor Information and Services Awards after winning the section at the the same NSW awards, but did not win the national title. It was won by Frankston Visitor Information Centre in Victoria.

Tourism Australia managing director Andrew McEvoy commended the finalists and category winners for their collective effort in delivering “world’s best” tourism experiences in Australia.

“Tourism is Australia’s largest services export industry and when combined with the domestic travel market contributes $96 billion annually to the national economy,” Mr McEvoy said.

More than 850 industry leaders and operators attended the event, with an audience including the Federal Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism, Martin Ferguson and Tasmanian premier Lara Giddings.

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