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Awards Announced for Two Passionate Ambassadors for Tourism in Port Stephens

November 29, 2013 Accolades No Comments Email Email

Destination Port Stephens Chairman, Michael Aylmer, who has worked as a volunteer for 28 years to promote tourism to the region, has been recognised by one of two special awards honouring personal contribution to the local visitor economy.

Mr Aylmer, who also owns local business, Port Stephens Accommodation, won the Robyn Shaw Personal Contribution to Tourism Award, an accolade awarded by Destination Port Stephens (DPS) every year to a passionate individual who has made a major contribution to the local tourism industry. The award is made in memory of Robyn Shaw, a former local tourism board member who worked tenaciously to build the appeal of Port Stephens. Award winners - Debbie Saunders and Michael Aylmer

Receiving the award at Destination Port Stephens’ Christmas gathering on November 25, Mr Aylmer, who has been Chairman of DPS for four years and has worked on and with the local tourism board since 1985, said he was honoured to have been nominated by his peers in the industry for the award. “I thank the DPS Board sincerely for this accolade,” he said. “This means a lot to me as Robyn Shaw was a passionate advocate for tourism in Port Stephens. Our tourism industry has certainly been through some challenging times in past years but we are now going from strength to strength in Port Stephens with renewed vigour and the future is looking great for the contribution visitors will make to our economy.”

The second award winner was Debbie Saunders – the office and conference manager at The Nelson Resort, where she has worked for 15 years. Ms Saunders received DPS’ annual Tony Burrell Enthusiasm Scholarship Award for individuals who display extraordinary passion and enthusiasm for their work. The award, which carries a $1000 prize, is in memory of Tony Burrell who oversaw the debut of quad bikes on the Port Stephens sand dunes in the 1990s.

“I’m blown away by this award,” said a delighted Ms Saunders. “How can I not be enthusiastic when I work for a great resort like The Nelson, a great boss like Andrew Macdonald and a great region like Port Stephens.”

Announcing the two awards, Destination Port Stephens Marketing Manager, Tars Bylhouwer, said both Mr Aylmer and Ms Saunders deserved recognition for their willingness to go beyond their roles to develop and promote tourism in Port Stephens. “We are fortunate to have a lot of passionate people working in our visitor industry but Michael and Debbie stand out for the incredible contribution they have made to tourism in this region,” Mr Bylhouwer said.

For more information on awards and scholarships from DPS, see

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