AWARD WINNER: Byron Bluesfest won its second NSW Tourism Awards last night. Seen here is US band Vintage Trouble at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016.
AWARD WINNER: Byron Bluesfest won its second NSW Tourism Awards last night. Seen here is US band Vintage Trouble at Byron Bay Bluesfest 2016. Tao Jones

Byron businesses win big at NSW tourism awards

THREE Byron based businesses and individuals took top honours at last nights 2016 NSW Tourism Awards.

Byron Bay Bluesfest won the award for Major Festivals and Events, Byron Bay Eco Cruises & Kayaks won the Ecotourism award and Flashcamp's Cameron Arnold was recognised for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to NSW. The TEACH program at Wollongbar TAFE was also awarded as best in Tourism Education and Training.

This is the second time that Bluesfest has one this award. Festival Director Peter Noble said although there were great events occurring all over regional Australia, it was clear the Byron area was the regional arts as well as the festival capital of Australia.

"Event presenters in the region bring tens of millions of dollars, hundreds of jobs and real culture to our area,” said Mr Noble.

"Festivals create a sense of community- they say Byron is a brand, it is festivals here like Bluesfest, that have had a huge impact on how the Byron brand is recognised as an arts capital around the world.

Mr Noble went on to make an impassioned appeal to all level of government to recognise the importance of the creative industries in the region. 

"I call on our civic leaders, state member, councillors and mayor to adopt the slogan, "Byron- the regional arts capital of Australia", to create greater awareness and wealth in our community, AND because, surely it is time this occurred.

"The creative industries have made such a special contribution to our area. It is time we fully acknowledged that and show the support they so richly deserve."

Winner of Outstanding Contribution for and individual Cameron Arnold said he felt extremely honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious award from my industry peers.

"I have been involved at local, regional and state levels of the tourism industry in a volunteer capacity for the past 9 years and feel very privileged to represent the tourism industry which has gone from strength to strength in this time,” he said.

With over 110 finalists in 2016, each winner was selected by an independent judging panel for their exceptional contribution to the NSW Tourism Industry, thank you to over 50 volunteer judges who reviewed submissions and visited entrants across the state.

Winners from 25 of the Award categories will advance to the 2016 QANTAS Australian Tourism Awards to be held at the Darwin Convention Centre on Friday 24th February 2017.

For a full list of winners go to: www.nswtourismawards.com.


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