Festival brought tourism dollars and now is in running for award

HAPPY: Oberon Visitor Information Centre's Deb Marks with Oberon Council's tourism and economic development manager Mathew Webb.
HAPPY: Oberon Visitor Information Centre's Deb Marks with Oberon Council's tourism and economic development manager Mathew Webb.

THE inaugural Oberon Field to Forest Festival has been named as a finalist in the 2019 Destination Country and Outback and Destination Riverina Murray Regional Tourism Awards.

The festival is one of 25 tourism businesses, events and visitor experiences in the running for the top titles.

Oberon Council's tourism and economic development manager Mathew Webb said the team at the Oberon Visitor Information Centre are very excited.

"This is the first time we've run the festival and it is deemed a huge success. It can only get bigger and better next year," he said.

"We're up against some tough competition, but to be selected as a finalist is great recognition of the festival's success."

Regional Tourism Awards chair Jane Barnes announced the final contenders that include tourism businesses, events, marketing organisations, wineries and accommodation providers.

READ ALSO:

"This year's finalists showcase the best of the region's tourism industry and some amazing individuals and operators," Ms Barnes said.

"Each of these finalists is now in the running to be named a winner in 19 award categories at our gala awards ceremony on July 27 in Dubbo."

Destination Country and Outback general manager Lucy White said the Regional Tourism Awards are an invaluable opportunity for the industry to come together and celebrate excellence.

Mr Webb's report to Oberon Council said the Field to Forest Festival (F2F) was developed in response to the increasing demand for rustic food and wine options and experiences in the Oberon region - in particular, the annual surge of visitors seeking out wild mushrooms in April.

"The event included specialised forage tours for wild mushrooms, secluded forest lunches, a newly launched wine and beer trail and workshops with experts recounting their skills and know-how on foraging in the forest," Mr Webb's report said.

"It is envisaged that during the month an additional $78,144 was directly attributed to F2F visitation with our accommodation, tour operators, and retail outlets all enjoying the bulk of the tourism spend.

"Media interest in F2F was positive, with the event attracting participation from top tier media. Bloggers such as Not Quite Nigella and journalists from Fairfax, Wine Selector and other lifestyle publications all attended.

"The total cost for hosting the event was $3500, so the return of income was extensive for this project."