Havelock North's standing in Hawke's Bay tourism was bolstered last night with big wins for Craggy Range Winery and Black Barn, with Black Barn taking out the region's top tourism award.
Black Barn took out the Supreme Award at the annual Hawke's Bay Tourism Awards last night, after also winning the Accommodation Award in the large category and the Essence of Hawke's Bay Award.
Craggy Range took out the Accommodation Award in the small category, Napier Maori Tours received the Culture and Heritage Award, and Prinsy's Tours and Church Road Winery were winners in the Visitor Experience category.
"Also acknowledged were two other individuals who have made significant contributions to our industry," Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said.
Katie Nimon of Nimon Luxury Passenger Transport was recognised as Ambassador for Tourism in Hawke's Bay, while Juliet Harbutt of Hunter Gatherer Tours received the Rising Star Award.
The 2018 winners were revealed at a ceremony held at the Old Church, Meeanee, in front of 190 tourism providers and industry members gathered to recognise the delivery of outstanding visitor experiences in Hawke's Bay.
Dundas said the awards evening was a key event in the tourism industry calendar.
"We are so delighted to recognise and celebrate the incredible industry we have in Hawke's Bay. The local businesses work incredibly hard to deliver amazing and unforgettable experiences for visitors to our region.
"The winners and finalists all play a crucial role in our industry and region, and are so deserving of their accolades."
Entries were open to Hawke's Bay Tourism Partner programme members across all tourism sectors, and involved a rigorous process with entrants completing a comprehensive questionnaire and presenting their business plan.
Entries were then judged by an independent panel made up of Tom Belford from Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Jenny Robertson - former EIT head of tourism, Jody Hamilton from Lyft Enterprises, and Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wayne Walford.
"This region has an abundance of amazing tourism product that is focused on ensuring the best possible customer experience of Hawke's Bay, which makes the judging process very difficult," Walford said.
"At the end of the day those businesses making it easy for visitors to be wowed before they arrive, wowed while they are here and wowed when they return home, are the leading lights."