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REGION - The Fleurieu Peninsula has fared extremely well after the 2004 SA Tourism Awards were held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday.
Mark Przibilla, Alexandrina Council Tourism Events Officer with Mayor Kym McHugh with the plaque and certificate that the 150th Railway Anniversary committee won at the SA Tourism Awards in the category of Significant Festivals and Events.
The 150th Anniversary of the Port Elliot-Goolwa Railway, Australia's first public railway, won the award for Significant Festivals and Events.
Ian Conolly, who owns and operates Victor Harbor's McCracken Country Club, received the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual for his work in the accommodation sector.
The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram won an Award of Distinction for the category of Heritage and Cultural Tourism, while Kangaroo Island Sealink received the Major Tour and Transport Operator award.
The Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under took home the Major Festivals and Events gong, and Ashcroft Country Accommodation at McLaren Vale won the South Australian traditionally hosted, Bed & Breakfast award.
Mark Przibilla, Alexandrina Council Tourism Events Officer entered the 150th Anniversary of the railway because he wanted the State to acknowledge the work of the 40 volunteers who organised the event, which attracted over 30,000 people over the May long weekend earlier this year.
Mr Przibilla said the 150th Anniversary was up against the McLaren Vale Sea & Vines, the World Solar Challenge and the Barossa Vintage Festival.
The night was attended by Mr Przibilla, Alexandrina Council Mayor Kym McHugh and CEO John Coombe.
"We were pretty keen to win," Mr Przibilla said, "We had to go through a very comprehensive application process first and to win was great.
"We wanted all the volunteers to be recognised and we also wanted some documentation to show other committees how an event of such size and significance could be organised," he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Conolly said winning the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual was a great honour.
"I was nominated by one of my staff and I never expected to win, as well as receiving a plaque and certificate, because my award was sponsored by Qantas I received two tickets to anywhere on Qantas's flight route in Australia," Mr Conolly said.
Around 550 people from the tourism industry, including the chair of Tourism Australia Tim Fischer, attended the black tie event involving a gala dinner and theatre-style presentation.
Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith said the awards recognise excellence in one of South Australia's most important industries.
"Tourism is big business, this is an industry that generated exports of $417 million in 2003, more than our wool and sheepskin exports," she said.
The Minister said the awards are judged in accordance with a strict set of rules and criteria, with winners setting benchmarks for the whole industry to aspire to.
State award winners will represent South Australia at the Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in Alice Springs in February 2005.
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