Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has announced something which many already knew: Cowra is one of Australia’s best tourist destinations.

The second annual Wotif Aussie Town of the Year Awards placed Cowra sixth in a list based on traveller reviews and a pricing and demand index.

“I’m not in any way surprised about this result, Cowra is a fantastic place to visit – Cowra Shire Council and the community put a lot of effort in and it’s paying off, as this awards listing clearly demonstrates,” Ms Cooke said.

“There is a lot of competition for tourism dollars and so to come sixth in a nationwide survey really shows that Cowra is definitely doing a superb job in making their town a must-see destination.”

The awards were designed to shine a spotlight on 10 deserving towns across Australia, beyond the usual hotspots, and aim to support local communities by encouraging Aussies to discover more of their own backyard in 2019.

“Cowra is located in the beautiful Lachlan Valley, is surrounded by vineyards and boasts a significant history and beautiful gardens,” Ms Cooke said.

“The Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre, Bellevue Hill Lookout, the historic Prisoner of War Campsite, Cowra Regional Art Gallery and the Lachlan River Bridge are incredible locations to visit, and clearly travelers across Australia feel the same way I do,” Ms Cooke added.

“It’s important to remember the role tourism plays in local economies: in the year ending September, the Cowra local government area received 134,400 domestic and international overnight visitors. These visitors stayed 382,200 nights in the area and spent an estimated $35 million.

“This huge injection of cash keeps businesses running, keeps jobs secure and enables economic benefits to flow throughout the Cowra economy,” Ms Cooke said.

Cowra Shire Council Mayor Bill West was delighted with the survey result.

“We put a lot of work into making sure we make Cowra the best it can be, so it’s rewarding to see our efforts have been recognised with this sixth place,” Mayor West said.

“We live in a country that’s full of amazing places to visit and it’s a real honour to have our town listed in the top 10,” Mayor West added.

Minister for Tourism Adam Marshall said the NSW Government is determined to turbocharge our State’s tourism sector so that every part of NSW reaps the benefits of our record $43 million investment in regional tourism.

“We are committed to supporting more activity across our regions because when people visit, they stay in local accommodation, buy from local shops and eat at local restaurants and cafes, putting more tourist dollars in the pockets of local businesspeople and creating more jobs,” Mr Marshall said.

“Tourism is a key driver of rural and regional growth – that’s why we’ve also, for the first time ever, created a regional NSW target of $20 billion by 2020 and $25 billion by 2030.”

The top 10 Aussie towns are:

  1. Port Fairy, VIC
  2. Albany, WA
  3. Port Augusta, SA
  4. Bendigo, VIC
  5. Forster, NSW
  6. Cowra, NSW
  7. Palm Cove, QLD
  8. Scamander, TAS
  9. Dubbo, NSW
  10. Warwick, QLD

Caption: Information Officer Jenny Bell, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Cowra Shire Council Tourism Manager Belinda Virgo and Visitor Centre Supervisor Joanne Chambers.