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Local tour operator winsnational prizes

Tuesday, 15th March, 2011

ON SAFARI: Michael McCulkin and tourists on one of his Tri State Safaris’ tours. ON SAFARI: Michael McCulkin and tourists on one of his Tri State Safaris’ tours.

Tri State Safaris has scored a double at the Australian Tourism Awards to become the most awarded 4WD tour operator in the country.

The Broken Hill tour operator won the Tour and Transport category at the 2010 Australian Tourism Awards in Perth last Friday.

Another of its operations, Mutawintji Eco Tours, took out the Indigenous Tourism prize.

The company also made the final in the Adventure Tourism category.

The 26th Australian Tourism Awards are the industry's biggest and most prestigious event of the year and about 1000 people attended the gala night.

Tri State Safaris also won national awards in 2006 and 2007 and last year it claimed three first prizes in the NSW and the Inland NSW Tourism Awards.

"This award is a great credit to our entire team, and in particular the passion of our guides who provide inspiring experiences to engage our visitors," said Tri State Safaris' owner Michael McCulkin.

"The win highlights Tri State Safaris' role as a significant national tourist operation," Mr McCulkin said yesterday.

"We consider being recognised the best in Australia ... a privilege and an honour."

Mr McCulkin said it was a huge thrill to triumph over multi-million dollar operations.

"Far too often regional businesses are overshadowed by our big city competitors, so we are particularly proud to be putting Broken Hill on the map to remind people that we are a world class destination in our own right," he said.

"We have the product and experiences to prove it and to be recognised for our contribution to Australia's tourism industry is a great honour."

Co-owner of Tri State Safaris, Joanne McCulkin, said that the win was particularly heartening given that the past few months had presented a number of challenges to the company.

"With well above average rainfall throughout the outback, many businesses have suffered from a decline in visitor numbers due to road closures," she said.

Tri State Safaris have been operating in Broken Hill for almost 20 years. 

It conducts a range of tours, from local sightseeing day trips and extended tours to trips to the Flinders Ranges, the Kimberley, Cape York and Central Australia.

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