Four Hunter tourism operators won Gold and Nelson Bay’s Moonshadow – TQC Cruises was inducted into the prestigious NSW Tourism Awards Hall of Fame in a glittering night for the region at the annual state awards, held at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel last week.

Moonshadow – TQC Cruises took out top honours in the Major Tour and/or Transport Operators category for the third year in a row, automatically qualifying for entry to the Hall of Fame.

Other Hunter winners were Port Stephens 4WD tours (Tour and/or Transport Operators), Margan Wines and Restaurant (Excellence in Food Tourism) and Macquarie 4 Star, Lake Macquarie (Standard Accommodation).

Sand Dune Adventures won Silver in the Adventure Tourism category, with Beyond Ballooning winning Bronze, while Oakvale Wildlife Park received a Silver award for Excellence in Accessible Tourism and Bronze in the Tourism Attractions category.

Silver awards also went to Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley (Business Event Venues), Brokenwood Wines Cellar Door (Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries) and the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association, which was honoured in the Destination Marketing category for its ‘Here’s to the Good Life’ campaign.

The 30th anniversary edition of the prestigious NSW Tourism Awards saw 75 awards presented before an audience of nearly 500 industry representatives.   

Many of the award winners from the Hunter also featured at the Destination Sydney Surrounds North Regional Tourism Awards, which the Hunter Business Chamber co-hosted with City of Newcastle in July.

There is a lot happening in the tourism sector regionally and the Chamber looks forward to working with operators and other industry stakeholders in 2020 to further enhance our visitor economy offering.

Focus on energy

The Hunter Business Chamber has been at the forefront of recent discussion and media coverage on our energy future and how it will meet the needs of business and industry.

The Chamber hosted Kerry Schott, Chair of the Energy Security Board, at our October Infrastructure Series lunch, where she articulated many of the challenges facing the Australian energy network as we transition to a more diverse energy mix with higher reliance on renewables.

The Hunter is well-positioned to be a leader in the development of new energy technologies, but the Chamber has consistently argued that our future network must have the capacity and affordability to service our manufacturing sector and other energy-intensive industries.

Current government policy does not address the gap in supply that will be created by the imminent retirement of coal-fired generators in the Hunter Valley.

A national policy on energy is needed that properly addresses the issues of affordability, security of supply and Australia’s international commitment to emissions reduction targets.

These points were made in our recent submission to the NSW parliamentary inquiry into the Sustainability of Energy Supply and Resources in NSW, which can be viewed on our website.

Minister for Small Business visit

Hunter Business Chamber had the pleasure of hosting the NSW Minister for Small Business, Damien Tudehope, on a visit to the region recently.

Mr Tudehope was guest speaker at our final Business Development Forum event for the year. He also met with small business operators at the Business Centre and had a site visit at Newcastle Airport, where he heard about their runway upgrade and expansion plans.

Christmas is coming

The countdown to Christmas is on and the Hunter Business Chamber will be celebrating the festive season with members with a get-together at Marina Views, Wickham on Wednesday 27 November.

Tickets for the Christmas Connect event are $20 for members, including entertainment, canapes and champagne on arrival. Proceeds go to the Hunter Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Tickets are available on the website.

Kind regards,

Bob Hawes – CEO Hunter Business Chamber