The NSW Tourism Awards recognise over 25 categories for outstanding performance. It is our pleasure to present the winners for the 2021 awards categories.
Thank you to everyone in our amazing tourism industry and Congratulations to all the winners
The very best of luck to all our State winners of the nationally-aligned categories (1-25) who will represent NSW at the prestigious Qantas Australian Tourism Awards to be held on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, Friday 18 March 2022 (update: see national winners here). Jump to Honourary Awards lower on page.
This special accolade acknowledges the resilience shown by the tourism industry during a year impacted by floods, bushfires, and COVID-19. Awards were decided by the judges from amongst eligible finalists.
Mr. Hugh Sutherland, Blue Mountains Climbing School
Hugh Sutherland has already achieved Adventure Tourism leadership status not just as a leader in the field but a leader in change for the better in the industry. For over 10 years, he has guided countless adventures, now moving into instructional roles, he's instilling a high standard of skills and ethics into the next generation of guides in the area.
Always exceeding expectations, Hugh is self-motivated, shows leadership, aims for sector growth and improvement and is conscious of personal improvement at a much higher level than most. He volunteers countless hours on top of his work commitments for the betterment of the industry, which includes being the NSW state representative and course coordinator for the Australian Climbing Instructors Association.
Hugh has led a collective industry discussion to improve broader outdoor industry issues at state and national levels. He's shown leadership in discussion groups, compiles research and evidence to assist in the improvement of pay and conditions, which includes compliance with laws and regulations and risk and environmental management at a level beyond his years.
Hugh is a passionate outdoor guide and outdoor educator with high aims for the industry as a whole and goes beyond just the areas he and his employers benefit. His actions set an example for others that anything can be achieved, you just need to start with one person.
Hugh is a credit to himself, to the Blue Mountains, and to the Outdoor Adventure Industry.
Dean Gorddard Award for
Outstanding Contribution by an Individual
Ms. Ruth Sandow, Chair of Milparinka Heritage & Tourism Association
Ruth Sandow has been described as a hardworking, community-minded individual with a heart of gold. She's dedicated over 25 years of tourism development, promotion and advocacy. Ruth’s commitment to the community is seen not only in tourism but with Landcare, Distance Education (School of the Air), Regional Development Australia, and as the former Chair of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Southeast Section where she welcomed Prince Harry & Meaghan to the Royal Flying Doctors Service during their 2019 royal visit .
Starting as a registered nurse, Ruth and her husband Jon, purchased a station property in outback NSW and faced the usual adversities that come with station life. Her love of history helps in her efforts to promote the region of Corner Country to visitors and share the knowledge of the area, which in turn helps support local businesses. In creating the Milparinka Heritage & Tourism Association she has spearheaded the injection of millions of grant-funded dollars into the area over her time.
Milparinka has an average population through the year of four, at its lowest, two, and at its maximum, six. Yet Ruth’s programs attract over 100 volunteers who become part of the community in its peak season.
Milparinka wouldn't host 20,000 visitors a year if it weren't for Ruth! She understands that by building Milparinka as a destination, all of Corner Country benefits. In 2020 she successfully linked the whole region together in a monumental project which has set the town up for ongoing tourism success.