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A gold win in the 2022 NSW Tourism Awards is a turning point in the history of Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail.
That's the view of Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail project director Margret Meagher after the tourism drawcard and public art project won gold in the tourist attractions category of the 2022 NSW Tourism Awards.
Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail also took out bronze for cultural tourism.
Mrs Meagher believes the gold win will open up more opportunities including international markets.
"It is a real honour to win that tourist attractions category, because it is so fiercely contested," she said.
Mrs Meagher said the win continued to keep Port Macquarie top of mind and on the tourism map.
The Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, which promotes koala conservation, features 83 one metre-high koala sculptures and the 2.5 metre-high Big Koala.
The Big Koala, created by industrial artist John Belfield and painted by Pauline Roods, forms part of Guulabaa, a new tourism precinct in the Cowarra State Forest.
The Big Koala was the one of the key aspects of the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail's 2022 awards submission.
The new children's book, Lola had a Dream written and illustrated by Francessca O'Donnell, was another focus.
The NSW Tourism Awards are managed by the NSW Tourism Industry Council powered by Business NSW, the state's peak business organisation, and supported by the state government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
The winners were announced at Sydney's Luna Park on Thursday, November 17.
NSW Tourism Industry Council senior director Paula Martin said the awards recognised businesses which exemplified quality tourism.
"These businesses provide leadership in innovation, marketing and in the delivery of quality products and services," she said.
"These are businesses who advance and promote the NSW and Australian tourism industry through consistent customer service and quality experiences to all."
Tourism Minister Ben Franklin said the event highlighted the industry's commitment to delivering premium products and experiences to all visitors to NSW.
Winners in the designated national award categories will represent NSW at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in March.
That includes Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail in the tourist attractions category.
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