NSW Tourism Awards 2021

The NSW Tourism Awards are presented in partnership with the NSW Government and Destination NSW.

Tourism Awards

Celebrating the resilience and innovation of our industry!

About the awards

Now in its 31st year, the NSW Tourism Awards celebrate business excellence, acknowledge business innovation and reward exceptional customer service. 

Parts of this year's program have been modified to reflect the business challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 12-months.

Nominations are now open! Nomination fees are $150 per category entered.  Winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner to be held in Sydney in November. Relevant category winners will go on to represent NSW at the Australian Tourism Awards to be held February, 2022 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

key dates

  • Thursday 10 June  Nominations open! 
  • Weds 16 June Entrant Support Session #1: Watch recording.
  • Friday 9 July (EXTENDED) Nominations close 
  • Tuesday 13 July Entrant Support Session #2: Watch recording.
  • Thursday 22 July Entrant Support Session #3: Watch recording.
  • Friday 30 July (EXTENDED)  Non-accredited entrants are encouraged to submit: Business & Accommodation standards  (this must be complete before submitting your final entry on 8 September)
  • Wednesday 4 August Draft Submissions open. Optional; Entrant Support
  • Wednesday 25 August Draft Submissions close
    Optional; Entrant Support
  • August/ September Virtual business verification meetings
  • Wednesday 8 September Submissions final deadline
  • September / October Submission judging
  • Friday 15 October Finalists announced
  • Thursday 11 November Gala Awards Dinner, Luna Park Sydney




  • Be recognised by peers and raise your reputation.
  • Benchmark against your competitors.
  • Review your business goals and achievements over the past 12 months.
  • Use your success as a marketing advantage.
  • Strengthen staff morale and team spirit.
  • Receive feedback from industry experts.
  • Opportunity to represent  NSW at the Australian Tourism Awards.

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Highlights reel 2019

It’s a great achievement for our community! We’re a not-for-profit social enterprise, small business in Port Stephens in Worimi country, local aboriginal land council, and to win this gold award 3 years in a row to go into the Hall of Fame just demonstrates that we’re not just doing it well, we’re doing it exceptionally well. And we’re really proud of that!

Andrew Smith - NSW Tourism Awards

Andrew Smith

Sand Dune Adventures

Hall of Fame NSW Tourism Awards 2018. Gold Qantas Australian Tourism Awards 2017. Qantas Award for Excellence in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Awards are open to all tourism businesses across the state of New South Wales, across a range of categories. If your business can adequately fit in a category and meet the criteria, you are eligible to enter.  

Contact us with any questions related to eligibility.

Yes. $150 per nomination. If your business enters multiple categories you will pay $150 for each additional category. 

The terminology can be a little confusing!
Nominating is when you formally advise of your intent to enter the NSW Tourism Awards. At this time you nominate your chosen category for entry and provide a 100 word description of the product/event being entered to demonstrate your eligibility and pay your entry fee. This part should take no longer than a few minutes to complete. 

Download guide: How to nominate via the awards portal

Most past entrants will agree that entering the NSW Tourism Awards assists their business greatly through self-evaluating their goals and objectives and benchmarking against key performance indicators and competitors.

If you are recognised as a winner, you can market yourself as the best in the state. Award winners are provided trophies to display at their business and logos to brand their communications which demonstrates a high level of excellence and credibility to their customers.

Media and other major bodies such as government agencies look to winners as the leaders of the industry and profile their success with free exposure in communications and online. 

All finalists and winners will receive a NSW Tourism Awards logo (Finalist, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Hall of Fame) to distribute as they wish for additional exposure and credibility.

There are many benefits of being a Gold winner at the NSW Tourism Awards.

·  Professional photo taken backstage with trophy after being named winner of a category

·  A 30 second video interview taken backstage after being announced winner which is then uploaded directly onto our Facebook page for you to share amongst your networks

·  Exposure on NSW Tourism Awards social media channels during and after the gala ceremony

·  Automatic promotion to being a finalist in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards (for categories 1 to 25), which will increase exposure on social media and other media releases

· Additional media opportunities as negotiated with awards partners

Each business must nominate themselves and develop a submission that answers the questions in each category.

Yes. All past entrants are encouraged to re-enter to achieve a first time win or increase their chances at becoming a Hall of Fame winner, which recognises those who have won a category in three consecutive years. By re-entering and winning at a state level, you increase your chances of being recognised as the best in the country if you win at the Australian Tourism Awards.

Questions change from year to year.
You can certainly use generic information about your business however any results or activity to substantiate your answer must have taken place in the qualifying period. 

Definitely not! Many past winners have written their own submission. You know your business inside and out, that passion cannot be replicated. Take advantage of the support services available, such as following the response guidance, attending the webinars and zoom Q & A sessions, and submit your draft submission for review to help you prepare a competitive submission.
You can certainly use a professional writer if you have limited time and resources.

Two categories recognise the contribution of individuals to NSW tourism. Outstanding contribution by an individual, Young Achiever in Tourism Award (under 35).
Individual/s are recognised by a nomination made by anybody on their behalf.

Yes, we announce our finalists once the judging is completed. There is a media release which announces this, alongside an email direct to all of our entrants and industry stakeholders and sharing on our social media platforms (Facebook and LinkedIn). 

A minimum percentage/score must be achieved for Gold, Silver, or Bronze winner be awarded in a category. 

Should a particular category have a small number of entries (even one)  and they do not meet the standard of finalist, no award will be presented for that category.

A single entrant does not qualify for an automatic win. 

All industry members are most welcome to purchase tickets to attend the Gala Awards Event.  


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