Forbes caravan park operators Russell Valli and Jennifer Yorke hope their success in one of the state’s top tourism competitions will bring benefits to the wider economy.
The couple, who manage Big4 Forbes Holiday Park, received the gong for best caravan park at last Saturday’s Countrylink Inland Tourism Awards, held at Mudgee.
It is not the first accolade for the Flint and Reymond street park, but it is the biggest.
Ms Yorke said the award would help attract more of the ever growing number of caravan and campervan visitors to Forbes.
“We feel with this accolade we can help benefit Forbes,” Ms Yorke said.
“Those people come to us and we then promote Forbes. When they stay here we then recommend things they can see and do while they are here in our town,” she said.
Mr Valli agreed.
“It is not only us that will benefit from this [award] it’s the town as well,” Mr Valli said.
Russell and Jennifer were finalists for the same award in 2010 and have also won the Caravan and Camping Industry Association’s (CCIA) NSW award three times.
They have also received silver and bronze Gumnut Awards from the CCIA for adopting environmentally sustainable practices in their management of the park.
However, the Inland Tourism Awards covers more than the campervan and caravan sector and takes in four NSW tourism regions - Inland and Central NSW, the Murray region and the Riverina.
“We’ve never won this one, this is big!” Ms Yorke said yesterday, back at work after attending Saturday night’s presentation.
The couple said their three-and-a-half star Big4 Forbes park was up against much bigger competition, including some 4.5 star venues in major regional centres.
Mr Valli and Ms Yorke said they had made several improvements to their park in recent years.
“I think just a gradual progression in our business direction,” Ms Yorke said of the qualities behind the award.
“But we have a very good team and we value our employees and what they contribute to our business,” she said.
Mr Valli said the couple have recently renovated cabins, made improvements to the amenities block, kerbed all their internal roads and just generally kept the park clean and attractive.
While they had been finalists in 2010 – another year affected by flooding - the couple said the top award in their category came as a surprise.
“We never thought we would win this one,” Mr Valli said.
“We are very excited,” Ms Yorke said.