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Heytesbury House wins silver gong at the Australian Tourism Awards
Smiles all round: Cobden’s Heytesbury House owners Andrew and Kathryn Stubbings celebrated national recognition earlier this month. 

THE awards keep piling up for Cobden bed and breakfast Heytesbury House, with the business winning a silver gong at the Australian Tourism Awards. 

The award, presented earlier this month, was the first national recognition for Kathryn and Andrew Stubbings who have won state golds in the past two years and state silvers the two years prior inthe tourism category – hosted accommodation. 

The nominees for the Australian awards consist of the annual winners from each state, with success highly coveted, according to Mrs Stubbings. 

“We were really honoured. It’s an incredible achievement to get a town like Cobden recognised nationally for any of its products and we’re very proud of that,” she said. 

“Whilst winning gold for the state awards was amazing, winning silver at the nationals is on a different level altogether.

“You are competing against the very best that each state has to offer, so each contender is at the top of their field.”

Mrs Stubbings described the award as “incredibly humbling”.

“The whole awards process is a hell of a lot of work, but we find the process really valuable for our business as it benchmarks us against everyone else and the judges’ comments provide valuable feedback for us to work on,” she said. 

The couple took advantage of the trip to Canberra to spend some quality time at the Australian War Memorial and to reflect on the effects of not only the bushfires, but also COVID-19, which dominated discussion at the awards night.

“It’s serious for us, it really is. Perhaps it’s easy for some people to ignore it or shrug it off, but it’s a crisis for the tourism industry and it’s impacted us significantly,” Mrs Stubbings said. 

“The whole discussion in Canberra was about the struggles we are all having – right across Australia. It has the tourism industry on edge everywhere. 

“Coronavirus is hurting accommodation providers like us, but the extension of that is all the small businesses in towns like ours that see some of those outside dollars.”

The couple has turned their sights on obtaining Victorian Hall of Fame status at the end of the year, which they would achieve if they win their third straight state gold.