River Deck Cafe is in the running for a NSW Regional Tourism Award
By DERRICK KRUSCH July 4, 2016
The River Deck Cafe in South Albury has been named a finalist in the NSW Regional Tourism Awards.
Cafe operator Alex Smit was elated with the nomination, pointing out the awards were not so much about an individual business but how they added to the city as a tourist destination.
“We wanted to create a business that would enhance Albury’s position within the region,” he said.
“The River Deck is thrilled to be part of this process.
“We work hard every day to promote our venue and the greater region to locals and travellers.”
The annual awards aim to celebrate excellence in tourism in four NSW regions: Central, Inland, Murray and Riverina.
All up, 38 finalists were named in 19 categories across the four regions.
The application process for Mr Smit involved answering four questions on all aspects of the business, with a focus on tourism.
Judges also took into account human resources and occupational health and safety aspects of the cafe.
A judge then visited the River Deck in Noreuil Park to take a look at what they offered firsthand.
“It’s fairly comprehensive, our response was about 30 pages long,” Mr Smit said.
Since opening in May 2015, Mr Smit said they had worked hard with great chefs to cement their position.
River Deck received a $250,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Regional Visitor Economy Fund in the hope it would operate during every season.
Mr Smit said the point of the exercise was to build something that would remain open for longer.
“In this set-up now, we can offer a function for people at any time of the year, we don’t have to worry about it raining or getting too hot,” he said.
“We want it to be a relaxing place, the park is such a lovely space and every year I spend here I enjoy it even more.
“It’s a really special place for so many people in Albury and I wanted to make sure it was sympathetic to that and that people could come here and relax.”
Awards chair Jane Barnes praised the nominated businesses.
“The judges have commented on the high standard of professionalism and innovation the finalists have shown in their field,” she said.
For now, Mr Smit was eagerly awaiting the awards night at a gala dinner on July 23 in Echuca-Moama.
– QUALITY SERVICE: River Deck Cafe barista and waitress Kelsie Halsall is chuffed with her work’s nomination. Photo: JAMES WILTSHIRE