31 May 2024

Kiama, Berry and Huskisson clean up in NSW tourism awards, taking out all three categories

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Aerial photo of Kiama harbour and town.

Kiama is celebrating being named NSW’s Top Tourism Town. Photo: Chilby Photography.

The Illawarra and South Coast have scooped the pools in the NSW Top Tourism Awards, winning all three categories.

Kiama was named the state’s Top Tourist Town, beating out rival Shellharbour, while Huskisson won the Tiny Town Award for the second year running and Berry was declared the Small Tourism Town winner.

Berry was also presented with a Hall of Fame award, in recognition of its outstanding achievement in being crowned winner in the Small Tourism Town category at the NSW Top Tourism Awards in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

Further down the coast, Merimbula was awarded silver in the Small Tourism Town category after Berry.

READ ALSO Kiama Downs switches on South Coast’s biggest community battery to help cut power costs

The Business NSW Awards are managed by the NSW Tourism Industry Council.

Council Executive Director Paula Martin was delighted at seeing “three beloved regional gems” claim the top honours.

“With their picturesque landscapes, rich historical significance, abundance of activities, and warm welcoming community spirit, Huskisson, Berry and Kiama have become shining beacons in regional NSW’s tourism landscape,” she said.

“These towns represent the epitome of what visitors seek – an immersive and revitalising experience that will leave a lasting impression, showcasing the very best that NSW has to offer.

“These vibrant towns set our state apart from other visitor destinations.”

The awards recognised Kiama for outstanding appeal, high quality visitor experience, sustainable tourism and effective marketing.

Old shop in Berry.

Beautiful Berry was named the Small Tourism Town winner. Photo: NSW Tourism Industry Council.

The announcement was made during the Local Government NSW Destination and Visitor Economy Conference in Wagga Wagga, on Wednesday (29 May), where 19 finalist destinations vied for the title.

Each participating town submitted a short video, itinerary and editorial which was evaluated by a judging committee of 10 industry experts. The public was then invited to cast their votes, with more than 10,000 individuals voicing their opinions to determine the ultimate Top Tourism Towns.

Destination Kiama Chair Matt Brown said the win was fitting recognition for the many local businesses and community members who made Kiama a welcoming and exceptional place for visitors.

“We are thrilled to receive this award on behalf of our entire community, who not only create a welcoming environment but also a townful of amazing ambassadors,” he said.

“This award recognises our many and varied local businesses who, with the support of Destination Kiama, have made Kiama as a top destination in NSW and beyond.”

Coastal town of Huskisson.

Huskisson was recognised as the ultimate destination for adventurers and food lovers. Photo: Shoalhaven Tourism.

Kiama Council CEO Jane Stroud said Kiama exemplified the best of regional NSW with a seamless blend of nature, history, and community spirit.

“Destination Kiama has done a fantastic job, working with our whole community, to build support for our local visitor economy,” Ms Stroud said.

“This also demonstrates the invaluable role regional councils play in their local economies, encouraging innovative tourism, manufacturing and retail opportunities.”

Huskisson was praised for being the ultimate destination for adventurers and food lovers, including the iconic 16 white sand beaches where visitors can swim with whales or ‘boom net’ with dolphins.

Berry was recognised for its award-winning restaurants, stunning vineyards, abundance of shopping opportunities and a warm community that welcomes visitors in the picturesque town nestled between mountains and the sea.

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