Scenic World hosted the 2013 Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) Awards of Excellence on Sunday with ‘Roaring 20s’ inspired music and sparkling fireworks welcoming winners to the stage.
And in a record-breaking evening in terms of entries and award categories, Scenic World found itself on the podium several times.
The Blue Mountains tourist landmark won gold in the new tourism development category in recognition of opening its massive Scenic Railway upgrade in March and won gold in the festivals and events category for its Sculpture at Scenic World Exhibition.
Scenic World also won a silver in the major attractions category, staff member Cam Jones was one of two gold winners for young customer service employee of the Year and joint general manager Anthea Hammon was the winner of the young achiever in tourism award.
Surprised and clearly emotional about the win, Ms Hammon described it as “a complete honour” and the new Scenic Railway as “a big investment and a huge project for us”.
“Visitation is up since we launched the new train (in March) and we expect this will have a positive impact on the whole tourism region.
“It’s been a challenging year and there are many people I’d like to thank.
“But three men in my life in particular — my Dad (Philip) who inspired me to be the engineer that I am, my fiance Ian for being so incredibly understanding and my brother and joint general manager David.”
Other multiple gold medal winners on the night were National Parks and Wildlife Service Blue Mountains (three golds), Life’s an Adventure (two golds and one silver), Waradah Aboriginal Centre (two golds) and Spa Sublime (two golds).
Katoomba’s Anne Elliott won the award for outstanding contribution by an individual to local tourism for her major roles in and limitless energy towards Slow Food Blue Mountains, Cittaslow Blue Mountains, Katoomba Chamber of Commerce and Community (KCCC), Bendigo Bank, the annual Blue Mountains Harvest Festival and the Greater Blue Mountains Food and Wine Development Advisory Group.
The night’s biggest award, outstanding contribution by an individual to NSW, went to Carrington Hotel co-owner, KCCC president, graffiti removal volunteer and Bendigo Bank (Upper Mountains branch) director Mark Jarvis.
Mr Jarvis said when he first arrived in Australia and found himself as manager of the Carrington Hotel he faced several options, including closing the iconic hotel.
“But how can a wonderful place like that not get under your skin?” he said.
Instead, he helped bring the Carrington Hotel back to its glory days.
Mr Jarvis said he was optimistic about the region’s tourism future and praised “the quality of the winners tonight and the wonderful support form our region’s tourism chairman Randall Walker and Mayor Daniel Myles”.
• Other gold medal winners were: bluemountainscrossings.com.au, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School, Blue Mountains Bus Company, Wild Valley Art Park, Nineteen23 Restaurant, Dryridge Estate, Blackheath Glen Tourist Park, Fairmont Resort MGallery, Lavender Majestic, Silvermere Guesthouse, The Carrington Hotel, Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat, Blue Mountains City Council and Mountain Whispers.
A lifetime contribution to tourism and the community award went to former editor of the Blue Mountains Gazette Michael Ticehurst.