Tamworth's signature event has been recognised at the NSW Tourism Awards.
The Tamworth Country Music Festival (TCMF) took out Gold in the Major Events and Festival category at the awards announced on Wednesday night in Sydney, where over 500 industry representatives had gathered to honour the tourism industry's best.
TCMF beat out the 2023 Bluesfest in Byron Bay, which won silver.
Executive Director, NSW Tourism Industry Council Paula Martin said the awards celebrate those tourism experiences that "inspire visitors to #feelnewsouthwales and recognise those businesses who exemplify outstanding tourism experiences".
"These businesses provide leadership in innovation, marketing and in the delivery of quality products and services. They also advance and promote the NSW and Australian tourism industry through consistent customer service and quality experiences," she said.
Toyota Country Music Festival Manager, Barry Harley said the award is a great win for Australia's country music capital.
"This accolade is testament to the profound impact the Tamworth County Music Festival has on the industry and the local region," he said.
"For more than five decades this event has been an annual celebration of Australia's country music industry, welcoming hundreds of thousands of people to the city of Tamworth, and providing them with an immersive and unique live music experience."
Business NSW regional director for the New England North West, Diane Gray said the win was "fantastic" news for the festival's future.
"The Tamworth Country Music Festival is an iconic event that continues to attract visitors from around the country and overseas, attracting huge crowds year in, year out. It celebrates everything that is great about country music and visiting the NENW," Ms Gray said.
"Tamworth Regional Council, the Country Music Festival organising committee totally deserve such auspicious recognition for their ongoing commitment and hard work to ensure visitors have the best experience."
The win will see the Toyota Country Music Festival, Tamworth automatically qualify as a finalist for the Australian Tourism Awards, where they will go up against the other state gold winners in the Major Festival and Events category.
Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said it's an exciting time for visitors in NSW, with domestic and international visitor expenditure in NSW surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
"Cultural activity is so much of why we love our towns and cities and it's a big part of what attracts visitors and what keeps them coming back," Mr Graham said.
"Congratulations to all the winners and the whole hard-working sector."
In other festival news, five-time Golden Guitar winner Ashleigh Dallas and Aleyce Simmons have been announced as Tamworth City Toyota Ambassadors for the next 12 months.
The country music stars will each receive a Toyota Kluger GXL to drive around in.
Marketing manager for Tamworth City Toyota Kylie Lewis said it's an exciting time for the dealership.
"We're just so thrilled that both of them are here with us, to do this with us as well, and we look forward to the ongoing partnership.
"They will always be a part of our family moving forward. They will both perform at our VIP night next January and do various pop up things throughout the 12 months as well."
And registrations are now open for the volunteer ambassador program for the 2024 Toyota Country Music Festival. Throughout the 10-day event, volunteer ambassadors play a vital role in helping both locals and visitors to navigate around the Festival precinct, as well as provide advice and assistance to those in need.
Anyone interested in becoming a 2024 Festival Ambassador must register via the Volunteer Ambassador Program - Tamworth Country Music Festival (tcmf.com.au)
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