Tourism prize boosts Casino Visitors? centre
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
ROD CALDICOTT fought back tears as he accepted his trophy at last night's Northern Rivers Tourism Awards.
The Richmond Valley Tourism manager, who won the General Tourism Services award for the Casino Visitors' Centre/Platypus Gallery, said it had been a long time coming.
"We're the babies of the region," he said.
"Winning an award isn't what we aspired to do when we started out, but it's recognition that Casino has come of age."
The Casino Visitors' Centre/Platypus Gallery also won an encouragement award in the Significant Tourist Attraction category.
The visitors' centre received accreditation in 2002, while the gallery was established in 2003.
Mr Caldicott said both awards were a credit to the entire Richmond Valley.
"We're not Byron, and people often see us as being out in the sticks and having nothing to offer but cows. We've been able to turn that around," he said.
"Casino is in the middle of 14 world heritage-listed national parks.
"We might not have the Crystal Castle or the Byron Bay lighthouse, but we have those natural attributes. There's nothing wrong with those built tourist attractions, but we work on our natural beauty."
About 100 people attended last night's awards ceremony at the Luv a Coffee cafe in Lismore.
The crowd also took part in the first guided tour of Lismore's Cafe and Cultural trail, beginning at the Left Bank Cafe.