Canberra Region Tourism Awards 2016

11 November 2016

 We know what’s good about Canberra and its region. We live it every day, treasure the opportunities and experiences it offers and spend too much time defending it. But that is changing and the best kept secrets it offers are well and truly being spruiked to a wider demographic and visitor numbers are increasing at a rate that helps fill the coffers of those who work in what we call the tourism industry.

To celebrate that their annual awards presentation is a night of nights for the diverse and innovative as well as those who’ve toiled hard for many years to make the city and region not just an occasional visit but a destination for all that it has.

Now in its 31st year this year the event went to the growing treasure that is the National Arboretum for the celebration, with a Flash Mob from the Canberra Choral Society bursting into glorious voices to quieten the crowd singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. A wow moment echoing down the valley that is a natural amphitheatre and usually the venue for the Voices in the Forest. Sadly this year not to be there but shifting to the very un-forest-like Llewellyn Hall.

With 25 categories it was to be a long night, but in the hands of master organiser Paul Donohoe of BDW Special Events and a superb menu created by gastronomic ‘Royalty’ Janet Jeffs, featuring food sourced from Canberra and the Region matched with local wines, it was a night to remember. Entertainment by Juliet Moody and Catherine Crowley of Sparrow Folk, Richard Perso on guitar and didgeridoo and the electronic duo of Mondecreen, was an eclectic mix of songs and sounds to enjoy while interspersed with the awards, speeches and hoots and hollers from the recipients.

Among the major award winners was Questacon, National Museum of Australia, The Royal Australian Mint  - opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1965 where he said Canberra had no soul – a moniker we’ve spent years trying to erase, and a long list of newcomers awarded including Jamala Wildlife Lodge, East Hotel and The Little National Hotel with the CIT picking up the all important training award.   

These awards are testament to a concerted effort to expand our reach, particularly with international flights expanding, to be entrepreneurial and have a vision for the future possibilities and support and celebrate all that is so good about our once little bush capital that just grew and grew.