WINNERS of the 2013 South Coast tourism awards were announced at a gala presentation on Wednesday night.
More than 270 people attended the awards highlighting the hard work done by thousands of tourism businesses from Helensburgh to Eden.
In 28 award categories, Shoalhaven businesses were awarded gold in 13 categories.
Matt Cross from Dolphin Watch Cruises won the major award for outstanding contribution to South Coast tourism by an individual.
Mr Cross has taken a well-deserved break and could not be contacted but friends said he was honoured to win the award.
Tracey and Ken Moore from Swan Lake Tourist Village won gold for the best tourism small business operator.
Mrs Moore said they were still numb about winning the award.
“It’s only been my husband and I here for the past nine years and when I entered the awards I never thought we would win anything,” Mrs Moore said.
“To get this award is the pinnacle for us,” she said.
This year’s local winners included Silos Estate in Berry with the gold award in the regional winery, brewery or pub category.
Nowra’s Shoalhaven Visitors Centre won gold in the visitor information centre category.
Dolphin Watch Cruises in Huskisson won the tour and transport operators award.
Gold was awarded to the Treat Factory in Berry for tourism retailing.
Destination Mollymook in Milton/Ulladulla won the new tourism development award, while Greenwell Point’s Anchor Bay Motel won gold for budget accommodation.
The Beach House in Sanctuary Point won gold for holiday letting. The gold award in hosted accommodation was given to Mollymook Beach Waterfront.
Swan Lake Tourist Village won gold for tourist and caravan parks up to three and a half star ratings and also took gold for the best tourism small business operator.
The unique accommodation category was taken out by Barrengarry Boutique Farm Cottages in Kangaroo Valley.
Daisycare Nanny Agency in Bomaderry won the family friendly award and the outstanding contribution to South Coast tourism by an individual was awarded to Matt Cross from Huskisson.
According to the Shoalhaven Tourism Board, tourism contributes $2 billion a year to the South Coast economy and employs over 21,000 people.
The tourism awards are designed to allow the best local industries show off what they can do.