The Lower South West has continued to cement its status as a must-visit destination after cleaning up at the State’s top tourism awards. Chestnut Brae Farm and Southern Forests Experiences have both been nominated as finalists, joining a list of a diverse range of businesses, individuals and destinations from across Western Australia which are excelling in the tourism industry. SFE co-developer Peter Casonato said he and Annette Porter of Travel with Me were proud to have received this nomination as finalists in the new business category for their series of intimate seasonal trips across the Southern Forest region. Mr Casonato said the nomination provides “recognition of our unique product and also the demonstration that a market for agri-tourism highlighting our region does exist” and highlights the “outcomes that can be achieved in the local tourism industry when we work collaboratively”. “We hope this recognition strengthens awareness of the Southern Forests Region as a tourism destination.” Linda Stanley said their objective when they first established the property was to highlight the importance of small-scale farmers, to encourage small businesses to do something other than commodity farming, and show farmers that they could look at their crops in a different way and diversify their business. “The area has a huge variety stories but we need to promote it,” she said. “We need to increase awareness of the region.” Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall said the awards program has been providing tourism operators with the opportunity to review their business goals, reflect on their successes, and celebrate WA’s tourism sector since 1972. “Celebrating the 50th year of the program brings home the longevity of the WA Tourism Awards and its important place within the tourism industry,” he said. “Through passion and perseverance, multiple generations of WA’s tourism industry have participated in a process that not only celebrates business excellence, but strategically analyses and improves tourism business’ operations. “Despite a challenging year due to border closures and staffing shortages, WA’s tourism industry has continued to show its commitment to excellence and outstanding visitor experiences. “The finalists named this year should be exceptionally proud of their contribution to the development of WA’s tourism industry and economy.” The winners of the 2022 Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards will be announced at a gala dinner held on November 5 at Crown Perth. Gold Medal winners in categories one to 25 go on to represent WA at the Australian Tourism Awards.