It was a fairytale ending to the annual Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon (BMLOT) Winter Ball held at the Fairmont Resort last Sunday when Glenbrook couple Laura Fitzpatrick and Matt Stanowski drove home in a $150,000 Bufori sports car after arriving hours earlier in their old Hyundai Accent.
They were one of 10 monthly winners from around Australia at the finale of BMLOT’s Win a Bufori And See Where It Takes You marketing campaign and couldn’t hide their delight when their number plate-shaped ticket was picked out of a barrel at 10pm by Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage.
“I have to admit that it [winning] was in the back of my mind tonight but it was not something I really ever thought would happen,” Laura told the Gazette after being handed the keys to the hand-crafted Bufori MKIII La Joya.
“I remember when I’d found out I was one of the 10 monthly draw winners I thought — wow — and now this.”
The road to Laura winning a Bufori came about when she decided to buy a small pink hat with a flower on the front at The Brook in Glenbrook and was handed a ticket into the competition.
“I said to Matt if I did end up winning the Bufori I’d drive it home but I’m a bit nervous now so I’ll probably drive a few times around the Fairmont’s driveway before I give it a go.
“I have an old Hyundai Accent hand-me-down from my mum, so this is a definite improvement.”
The winning draw — ending months of excitement and hype — was the perfect climax to the Winter Ball, attended by more than 150 guests including tourism industry operators, 24 journalists including newsreader Tracey Spicer and the mayors of Lithgow, Oberon and the Blue Mountains.
Travel writers enjoyed a traditional Yuletide dinner and performances by Gundungurra indigenous dancers and the swinging 1920s style Lounge Bar Lotharios Dance Orchestra, plus had a sneak peek at BMLOT’s latest online advertisement, starring legendary Australian actor Jack Thompson.
BMLOT chairman Randall Walker said the classic design of the Bufori sports car, as the marketing campaign’s prize, was a “perfect fit” with the heritage ambience of the region.
“In a competitive marketplace a proactive destination must engage in marketing activities that cut through the clutter, so we were delighted to partner with Bufori,” Mr Walker said.
“This campaign was embraced by 35 operators and generated $1.5 million in public relations exposure and approximately $1 million in visitor expenditure.”
Mr Walker, Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage and Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles congratulated the region’s tourism operators for continuing to develop new and innovative products, winning awards and achieving growth in domestic tourism during difficult times for the industry across Australia.
“We’ll have 10 new Aboriginal [tourism experience] products launched next year — it’s a testimony to the innovation of this region’s tourism industry — the largest single employer in the Blue Mountains,” Mr Walker said.