The CountryLink Inland NSW Tourism Awards were held in Moree on Saturday night with a bumper crowd of 210 people in attendance to celebrate in style.
According to Hon George Souris, Minister for Tourim “These Awards bring together the devoted businesses that strive to showcase the best of what Regional NSW has to offer. They celebrate the people that work hard to support their local and regional tourism industry and provide valuable marketing opportunities for individual businesses.
The four regional tourism areas of Central, Inland, Murray and Riverina within Inland NSW, provide visitors to the State with some of the top national parks, historical villages, wineries and local produce, as well as a wide range of unique experiences and attractions. The winners from tonight will go on to participate in the NSW Tourism Awards, as well as gain much deserved recognition and publicity for their business.”
Local tour operators, Tri State Safaris were announced as winners in both the Tour &/or Transport Operator and Indigenous Tourism categories. Joanne McCulkin of Tri State Safaris said “We are absolutely thrilled to have won these awards, particularly as they follow on from successes in previous years awards at Regional, State and National levels.
This was the tenth year of the Inland Awards and we have been entering from the beginning and have found that the whole awards process has been a great benefit to our business. Starting at the Inland Awards level is the foundation for better business awareness, and a great way to put both your business and the region you represent on the state and national map.
We have a great crew working for us at Tri State Safaris who share our passion for spreading the word about Outback NSW, and we appreciate their effort and devotion and acknowledge that we wouldn’t be where we are today without them”.
However, by far the highlight for the night for Tri State Safaris was when owner, Michael McCulkin, was presented with the Ted Wilson Award for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism by an Individual. This prestigious award recognizes the extraordinary personal and professional achievement and contribution by an individual over many years to regional tourism. Judges consider the particular activities and contributions of the nominee outside the expectations of normal employment.
On receiving the award, Mr McCulkin said “ I feel so humbled that others in the industry have considered that I should receive this award. I have been involved in tourism for 21 years this year. It is the amazing places I have visited, the interesting people I have met, and the professionals I have worked with that have made my journey so rewarding. At times its hard to separate personal life from work, but this industry has given me so much, and I have found it so very fulfilling to give back to the industry whenever I can.
I am incredibly lucky to work alongside my wife, Joanne, who has given me so much support and inspiration, as well as a great crew, from our dedicated drivers and guides, to our passionate admin staff.
Not being a “born and bred” local I have always seen Broken Hill as a wonderful place to live and work in, and I’m really confident that tourism will continue to provide prosperity for the towns future. There is still much hard work to be done and many challenges to be faced, but I’m looking forward to being involved wherever I can. I encourage all of those people in town that are making a dollar out of tourism to step up and become more involved.
Mr McCulkin is currently a board member and founding director of Inland NSW Tourism, board member of Inland NSW Tourism Awards, member of the NSW National Parks Far West Regional Advisory Committee, and a judge and mentor for both the Inland and NSW Tourism Awards, and owner of Tri State Safaris/Mutawintji Eco Tours, and the Australian 4WD Academy (a Registered Training Organisation providing Nationally Accredited 4WD, Defensive Driving and ATV training).
The McCulkins would also like to congratulate all the other finalists and winners from both Broken Hill and other regions in Inland NSW.