By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier
The AHA ACT Hospitality Awards were held on 11 July, and the record number of entries this year are indicative of a booming hospitality industry in Australia’s capital territory.
Over 440 of the ACT’s industry and political leaders attended the awards night, which featured over 30 awards ranging from Best Cocktail Bar to Best Sporting Venue. ABC Political Reporter Anna Henderson hosted the evening.
The biggest award of the night, the John Press Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to the hospitality industry and Canberra community, went to Brian Smith, licensee of venues Hopscotch and Young & Frisky.
“It was an absolute shock, I must say. I didn’t expect it,” stated Smith.
Smith’s Hopscotch also was a joint winner with Meating Room for Best Pub Bistro. Best Cocktail Bar also went to joint award winners, with Bar Rochford and Molly recognised for their cocktail offerings. Other highlights included Best Local to The George Harcourt Inn and Best Late Night Entertainment Venue to Shorty’s.
AHA ACT general manager Jo Broad said that the night showed how vital the hospitality industry is to the ACT economy, especially with international flights to the capital beginning later in the year.
“Competition was incredibly tough this year, particularly given the sheer number of entries, which indicates how much the industry has grown and developed over the last few years,” she stated.
Smith agrees, stating that hospitality industry in the ACT has stepped up its game.
“I think it’s the best it’s ever been. It’s growing, there are a lot of new players in the market. The operators that are doing something a little bit different and concentrating on a service, will do very well.”