The 20th annual Accommodation Awards for Excellence were hosted by Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) on Thursday 20 July.

Deluxe Restaurant of the Year went to joint winners Altitude at Shangri-La Hotel Sydney and Jonah’s Restaurant and Boutique Hotel. Mid-Range/Superior hotel Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Echoes Restaurant, Echoes Boutique Hotel and Steeds Club Grill & Bar, Rydges Parramatta, which also took out the award in 2016. Roadhouse Bar & Grill, Atura Blacktown won Brasserie/Café of the Year.

The Chef of the Year award also had joint winners: Anna Polyviou of the Shangri-La Sydney and Dany Karam of The Star Sydney. Libby Jaeger of the Intercontinental Sydney was highly commended in the Food and Beverage Employee of the Year category.

Mid-Range/Superior Bar of the Year was won by Roadhouse Bar & Grill, Atura Albury and Deluxe Bar of the Year went to Stillery, Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay, while Grain Bar, Four Seasons was highly commended.

A speech from Tourism Accommodation Australia chairman, Peter Tudehope, highlighted the important contribution that the NSW hotel industry provides to the state’s $30 billion visitor economy.

“As an industry we are in a very privileged position — we have a state government that recognises and supports the important contribution of the tourism sector. New South Wales’ position as a leading tourism, major events and business events destination was reinforced last month with the release of the 2017–18 NSW Government Budget,” says Tudehope.

“The government not only maintained but increased their strong funding commitment to both Destination NSW and Business Events Sydney. They have also continued their significant investment into infrastructure and transport development, which is critical to continuing to grow the visitor economy and in ensuring the sustained performance of our accommodation industry.

“Government investment is fundamental to supporting confidence in current and planned accommodation in Sydney and Greater Sydney. We have close to 3,000 rooms under construction, 5,000 rooms approved and 4,500 rooms planned or proposed in Sydney metro. A 30 percent increase in supply over the next seven years if it all comes to fruition.

“Another very important announcement by the government is their continued commitment to funding regional NSW. Importantly the dollar for dollar spend in regional tourism infrastructure has never been better.

“We look forward to the new model for regional tourism in NSW getting more traction. We are pleased that, after three and half years of research and advocacy a centralised regional business events unit has been created in Destination NSW and a manager appointed. Attracting more mid-week business is a game-changer for regional accommodation properties.

“The hospitality industry is not only about attracting visitors, we also need to attract the labour and skills that underpin the sustainability of our industry. We appreciate the work the government is doing in this regard and for their support for TAA’s Hotel Career Expo.

“The accommodation sector directly employs over 22,000 people in NSW. Indirectly it employs 40,000. The sector contributes over $2.2 billion in gross product to the NSW economy. The government’s budget initiatives provide a tremendous boost for the sector, which in turn lets us continue to deliver these outstanding numbers.

“I would like to thank our tourism partners, many of whom are represented tonight — your ongoing support and commitment is highly valued and critical for the success of our industry.

“Tonight’s awards continue to demonstrate the ‘world -class’ product we have in NSW and the committed and passionate people working in our industry.”

Almost 700 political, industry and business leaders — including NSW Tourism and Major Events Minister Adam Marshall — were on hand at the Hyatt Regency Sydney for the awards night.

Also in attendance were members of the TAA NSW Board including Martin Ferguson, TAA national chair; Scott Leach, president of the AHA National and NSW; and Stephen Ferguson , national CEO of the AHA.

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