West Coast tourism operators up for state award

HAPPY: The Shelly Beach Caravan Park team, with Melissa Kett, Ngaire Bayliss, Lynton Brown, Christie Bubner, Anna Brown and Debbie Pav, were thrilled to be nominated once more. Picture: Luca Cetta
HAPPY: The Shelly Beach Caravan Park team, with Melissa Kett, Ngaire Bayliss, Lynton Brown, Christie Bubner, Anna Brown and Debbie Pav, were thrilled to be nominated once more. Picture: Luca Cetta

West Coast tourism operators Shelly Beach Caravan Park, Chinta Air and Camel Beach House have been named among the finalists for next month’s South Australian Tourism Awards.

Shelly Beach has been recognised for the second year in succession in the Caravan and Holiday Parks category at the South Australian Tourism Industry Council’s gala dinner, Chinta Air was again nominated in the Tour and Transport Operators category and Camel Beach House near Venus Bay was also nominated.

Shelly Beach operator Anna Brown said they were excited about the nomination.

“It is a reassurance for us that we are doing the right thing when it comes to tourism, our business and for the entire Ceduna and Eyre Peninsula region too,” she said.

“A lot of hard work is involved with the nomination, you need to look at your business and what has been achieved over the last financial year, what we have been doing, feedback from customers and what we have done previously and how that is going.”

Felicity Brown of Chinta Air said the nomination process took “about a month” to complete, but was well worth the effort.

“I would recommend people to enter as you are forced to look at the business, to see what is working and what is not,” she said.

“One of our mantras is ‘trust the data’ – you need to evaluate where bookings are coming from and look at what is working with advertising and what isn’t.”

She said being named a finalist was “fantastic” and showed Chinta Air was operating well.

“Last year we were also a finalist and it was brilliant to be at the ceremony at a table full of Eyre Peninsula businesses where everybody took home an award,” Ms Brown said.

“It says we are consistent, and consistently good, and that we offer a tourism product which is a bit different and unusual.”

It absolutely is great to see Eyre Peninsula recognition, there are great tourism products in the region.

Felicity Brown, Chinta Air

Shelly Beach took home silver in their category last year, while Chinta Air was a bronze medallist.

Both said their nominations show there are destinations to consider on the West Coast, and Eyre Peninsula in general.

“Since being a finalist last year we have had people tell us they’ve chosen to fly with us over competitors based on that finalist award and with social media feedback,” Felicity Brown said.

Anna Brown said a main aim of Shelly Beach was to be more than a stopover.

“The feedback we have been receiving is people are happy, they want to return and make it their destination, which is what we’ve been aiming for,” she said.

“Once people come here and discover what the EP has to offer they are overwhelmed by it and by how pristine it is – compared to other parts of Australia which are overcrowded, this is pristine, with good fishing and what goes with it.”

She said West Coast attractions such as whale watching at Head of Bight, swimming with sea lions at Baird Bay and the Fowlers Bay Eco Tour helped to keep people in the area.

Felicity Brown said those in the industry had to do their part to raise the region’s profile.

“It absolutely is great to see Eyre Peninsula recognition, there are great tourism products in the region,” she said.

“One thing we’ve learnt is there isn’t anybody else who will bang your drum.”

Both businesses have also been nominated for the RAA’s People’s Choice Tourism Award, an award designed to recognise a high level of service excellence provided by one of the finalists, as voted by the public.

Voting for that award closes on Sunday with the winner also to be announced at the gala dinner in Adelaide on November 10.