Entrants are encouraged to enter the category which best reflects their core business

Click on the relevant link below to download a copy of the questions for each individual Award category, we encourage the entrants to download these and work from them before uploading to the portal:.

Note: If you downloaded the questions for your category before Wednesday 20 March, please check them again as we’ve had to make some minor updates. Apologies for any inconvenience.

1. Major Tourist Attractions

  • This category recognises natural or built tourist attractions that attract amongst the highest visitor numbers during the qualifying period for NSW.

2. Tourist Attractions

  • This category recognises natural or built attractions that attract significant visitor numbers during the qualifying period for NSW.

3. Major Festivals and Events*

  • This category recognises leisure festivals, events and exhibitions that enhance the profile/awareness and appeal of the destination they are held in as well as creating economic impact, increased visitation and community involvement.  

    This category is open to (but not limited to) sporting, arts, historical, cultural, literary, comedy, culinary and general interest festivals, events and exhibitions with local, interstate and international visitor attendance over 50,000 or recognised by the STO as a major event on their event calendar. 

    The festival/event must have occurred during the qualifying period. Festivals/events may be one-off or reoccurring events.  

4. Festivals and Events*

  • This category recognises leisure festivals, events and exhibitions that enhance the profile/awareness and appeal of the destination they are held in as well as creating economic impact, increased visitation and community involvement.  

    This category is open to (but not limited to) sporting, arts, historical, cultural, literary, humorous, culinary and general interest festivals, events and exhibitions with local, interstate and international visitor attendance under 50,000 or NOT recognised by the STO as a major event on their event calendar. These may be one-off or reoccurring events.  

    The festival/event must have occurred during the qualifying period. Festivals/events may be one-off or reoccurring events.  

5. Ecotourism

  • This category recognises ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.

6. Cultural Tourism

  • This category recognises tourism operations that foster a greater understanding and appreciation of authentic culture, history, heritage and/or the arts.

7. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism

  • This category recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism operations that demonstrate authenticity and cultivate a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and traditions.

8. Specialised Tourism Services

  • This category recognises the outstanding delivery of a specialised or distinct tourism product/service that enhances the visitor experience and integrates with other tourism products. This category is only open to those businesses who do not meet the criteria of any of the other award categories. Entrants in this category could include – but not limited to – service providers, shopping precincts, retailers, online information and booking systems, member services, money exchange services, language and interpreter services.

9. Visitor Information Services

  • This category recognises the consistent delivery of high quality and face to face information services to the visitor. It is open to Visitor Information Centres/Tourist Offices, Local Tourist Associations and Regional Tourism Organisations.

10. Business Event Venues

  • This category recognises venues who provide high quality facilities specifically designed for business events e.g. meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions.

11. Major Tour and Transport Operators

  • This category recognises a major contribution to tourism through the combined provision of touring and transport services. It is open to businesses with 15 or more annual fulltime equivalent employees.

12. Tour and Transport Operators

  • This category recognises a significant contribution to tourism through combined provision of touring and transport services. It is open to businesses with fewer than 15 annual full time equivalent employees.

13. Adventure Tourism

  • This category recognises outdoor adventure tourism experiences that involve visitor participation and a personal challenge.

14. Destination Marketing*

  • This category recognises creativity and innovation in fully integrated destination marketing activity/campaign (international or domestic) to attract visitors to a region/destination. The campaign can be a single promotional activity or a series of related promotions delivered by one organisation. This category is open to Regional Tourism Organisations, Local Tourist Associations, Visitor Information Centres, local government and marketing alliances delivering consumer-marketing campaigns.

15. Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services

  • This category is open to all restaurants and catering services offering a tourism experience and/or servicing the tourism industry. It is not a food award but does recognise a significant contribution to tourism through the provision of food and beverage. Entry is open, but not limited to, hotel or stand-alone restaurants, event caterers, pubs and cafés.

16. Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries

  • This category recognises wineries, distilleries and boutique breweries that offer a cellar door experience and create a significant contribution to tourism.

17. Caravan and Holiday Parks

  • This category recognises tourism excellence in a caravan or holiday park. The focus of this award is on both the facilities and services that enhance the tourism experience. This category is open to caravan or holiday parks that offer cabin and tenting accommodation and have obtained a rating of 3 or more in the Caravan Park category within the Awards Accommodation Standards or an official Star Rating of 3 or more in the Caravan Park Accommodation Star Rating category. 

18. Hosted Accommodation

  • This category is open to hosted accommodation that offers a bed & breakfast, farm stay, cottage or other intimate accommodation experience and have obtained a rating of 3 or more in the Awards Accommodation Standards within the Hosted Accommodation category or an official Star Rating of 3 or more in the Hosted Accommodation Star Rating category. 

    Serviced apartments, hotels and resorts should consider entry into one of categories 21-24 which best fit their product.  For companies that are managing multiple self-contained properties it is recommended they focus on one of their properties or enter the Specialised Tourism Services category as a service provider. 

19. Unique Accommodation

  • This category recognises tourism excellence in accommodation providing a unique tourism experience that includes an overnight accommodation experience with an included activity. The focus of this award is on the uniqueness of the tourism experience.  This category is open to properties developed around unconventional accommodation infrastructure that includes an activity (passive or active). Entry is open – but not limited to – tented holidays, houseboats, tree houses, underground accommodation and yacht charters.  

    Unique Accommodation is not required to have obtained an Awards Accommodation Standards Rating or official Star Rating.

20. Self-Contained Accommodation

  • This category recognises tourism excellence in accommodation providing guests with non-serviced accommodation and the freedom of self-sufficiency.  The focus of this award is on both the facilities and services that enhance the tourism experience. This category is open to accommodation that offers a self-catered accommodation experience and have obtained a rating of 3 or more in the Awards Accommodation Standards within one of the following categories - Self Catering, Hosted, Park Accommodation or Serviced Apartment. Or an official Star Rating of 3 or more in the Self Catering, Hosted, Park Accommodation or Serviced Apartment Star Rating category.  For companies that are managing multiple self-contained properties it is recommended they focus on one of their properties or enter the Specialised Tourism Services category as a service provider. 

21. Standard Accommodation

  • This category recognises all types of accommodation. The focus of this award is on both the facilities and services that enhance the tourism experience. This category is open to accommodation experiences that have obtained a rating of 3 or 3.5 in the Awards Accommodation Standards, or an official Star Rating of 3 or 3.5 in any Star Rating category. This category is open to accommodation that offers a self-catered accommodation experience and have obtained a rating of 3 or more in the Self Catering, Hosted, Park Accommodation or Serviced Apartment Accommodation Standard category, or an official Star Rating of 3 or more in the Self Catering, Hosted, Park Accommodation or Serviced Apartment Star Rating category. 

22. Deluxe Accommodation

  • This category recognises all types of accommodation. The focus of this award is on both the facilities and services that enhance the tourism experience. This category is open to accommodation experiences that have obtained a rating of 4 or 4.5 in the awards Accommodation Standards, or an official Star Rating of 4 or 4.5 in any Star Rating category. 

23. Luxury Accommodation

  • This category recognises all types of accommodation. The focus of this award is on both the facilities and services that enhance the tourism experience. This category is open to accommodation experiences that have obtained a rating of 5 in the awards Accommodation Standards, or an official Star Rating of 5 in any Star Rating category. 

24. New Tourism Business

  • This category recognises new tourism businesses that have commenced trading, visitation or service delivery during the qualifying period. This award recognises excellence in the planning and development of new tourism infrastructure and/or services. Tourism businesses that have commenced a new product or opened new infrastructure need to enter another category most applicable to the business.

25. Excellence in Food Tourism

  • This category is open to food producers, providores, tour operators, cooking schools, food attractions, farm gate experiences, farmers markets, trails and other food tourism experiences in (state/territory), featuring (state/territory) produce as the core component.

27. Tourism Education and Training**

  • This category is open to individual tourism businesses and tourism education and other registered training providers working to raise professional standards within the tourism industry by delivering tourism training, including online.

28. Excellence in Accessible Tourism

  • This category is open to NSW tourism businesses or attractions delivering tourism products or services that are welcoming for people of all abilities. Entrants must demonstrate how they have developed a tourism experience to become more accessible.

* Categories do not require site visits
**NSW category only, winner cannot progress to Nationals

Pictured above: Surfers catching a morning wave at Cabarita Beach. Credit: Destination NSW.