Tourism and events co-ordinator Katrina Barnes, left, hospitality, tourism and service skills manager Liz Waters, and tourism teacher Marcia McCarthy celebrate South West TAFE’s silver award with a cup of coffee. SOUTH-WEST TAFE has gained national recognition at the Australian Tourism Awards.
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The education provider won the sliver award for best tourism education and training at the awards presentation in Cairns on Friday night.

South West Institute of TAFE centre manager for hospitality, tourism and service skills Liz Waters said the industry recognition was fantastic for the TAFE and the community.

“We’re very much the only tourism education provider in the south-west,” she said.

“We absolutely understand what the community wants and needs.

“I think it also fittingly recognises the dedication, commitment and passion of the teaching staff.

“This wouldn’t be possible without our community partnerships.”

The TAFE became the first entry to win outright at a state level and go onto compete at the national awards.

South-West Institute of TAFE tourism and events co-ordinator Katrina Barnes said students were given unique opportunities to work with community organisations including Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Koroit Irish Festival.

“The access we have to businesses and events is unique,” she said.

“A lot of the larger institutes don’t have that access.”

Tourism teacher Marcia McCarthy said the organisation already had its eyes on the top prize for next year.

“There’s only one way to go and it’s up,” she said.

“We’ll give it a really good go.”

The 12 Apostles Helicopters took out the bronze award for tour and/or transport operators.

The 27th Australian Tourism Awards recognise tourism businesses that strive for excellence in every area of their operation.

Winners were announced from 27 categories in three tiers gold, silver and bronze.

Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) chief executive Dianne Smith said the awards offer recognition to those tourism providers that showcase Victoria’s unique attributes as a tourist destination.

“Victoria has a range of diverse tourism offerings and for our tourism providers to be able to showcase their contribution to this at such a prestigious event is wonderful,” Ms Smith said.

“We congratulate all winners, and particularly thank our Victorian winners for their outstanding contribution to our successful tourism industry.”

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