OPINION: Byron Shire businesses shine on awards night
SATURDAY night was a night of celebration for the region's tourism industry at the North Coast Tourism awards held in our own Byron Shire.
One hundred and fifty tourism operators and industry professionals from right across the North Coast of NSW gathered at the Byron at Byron for the industries' night of nights hosted by North Coast Destination Network.
One of only 2 regional tourism awards in NSW for 2015, the scene was set in true Byron style by a very special "welcome to country" conducted by Nigel Stewart and Aunty Delta of the Arakwal people.
Our mayor Cr Simon Richardson in his welcome speech prepared the award nominees for how to deal with their success or disappointment whilst giving particular praise to those nominees from the Byron Shire. Byron's very own Shelly Craft then took over as MC.
Results came thick and fast from the 20 plus categories as follows: Gold - Apartments Inn Byron, Arakwal Dolphin Dreaming, Byron Bay Bluesfest, Byron Bay Cottages and Let's Go Surfing.
Silver - Flash Camp Pop up Hotel x 2 and Cape Byron State Conservation Area
Bronze - Cangoevery where.com.au
The awards are testament to the amazing businesses we have in our shire and why Byron is such a key destination on the national tourism landscape.
The Gold winners will now gain automatic entry into the NSW Tourism Awards to be held later this year.
As Co-Chair of the North Coast Destination Network I could not have been more proud of such a great evening and of our industry as a whole.
Visitation continues to increase on the North Coast as we now sit as the 4th highest visited destination in Australia and for international visitation we are now ranked 8th, surpassing Darwin and Canberra in the last 12 months.