It’s been a week since Flamboyance Tours was awarded silver at the 2021 SA Tourism Awards in the Cultural Tourism category. I can still barely believe that I walked away with a placing, being up against some mighty organisations (five finalists total).
I firstly want to acknowledge those other entrants, including The Cedars at Hahndorf which took out the gold in this category, and other winners of the night. About 30 categories are judged by an expert panel, and it is amazing what documentation they must look through. Each submission for the 2021 awards consists of about 8000 words with supporting imagery.
I’ve submitted for an award twice now – the first time in 2019, I came a “close fourth” in the New Tourism Business category out of eight finalists. That year, I was so excited to have placed as a finalist – I had no expectation of taking it out, I was just happy to be there.
Fast forward two years (with 2020’s event being cancelled), and I’m more confident about my business having operated for much longer compared to 2019 (when I wasn’t eligible to enter in other categories besides New Tourism Business). I had options for what I could nominate for, and this time Cultural Tourism spoke to me.
To put it right out there, I would’ve been extremely hurt had I not made it as a finalist in the Cultural Tourism category. This category is based on providing greater understanding of culture, history and heritage through experiences, and Flamboyance Tours has been a strong advocate for Adelaide in both these spaces during the judged timeframe.
Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and I went to the awards knowing anything could happen. I really thought there was a possibility that what I had displayed about my business’ resilience during a pandemic, as well as my strategies to get Flamboyance Tours in the public eye, would be enough to exceed all expectations. Plus, if you win any category, you have an excuse to travel to the national awards (happening on the Sunshine Coast in 2022).
While that didn’t happen, I was still blown away to receive silver. There were tears welling as it dawned on me that I’d worked pretty damn hard not only with the awards submission, but overall. It’s a reflection on the past two years (because of 2020’s cancellation) and it was judged to be worthy of a placing.
I see the certificate on the mantelpiece near my workspace out of the corner of my eye and walk past, and smile. I think about the awards night itself, where I was supported by three of my closest friends, and I smile. As the pandemic has dragged on, it’s been hard trying to navigate where things are headed, and how Flamboyance Tours fits into that. But this has honestly brought, among many other things, a sense of relief. And also a sense of achievement, particularly because I do this part-time and I’m the only one involved in submitting the award nomination (as opposed to some organisations that outsource it or have a team that works on it). I must be doing something right.
It’s funny, I’m not sure how to word it most of the time – am I a silver medallist? A silver recipient? Awarded the silver? That’s just me playing with words I’m sure… but regardless, achieving this status makes me want to push harder in 2022 for the gold. Whether or not it’s in this category, only time will tell.
I hope to write next about the process of submitting an award, and how I can use the judges’ feedback to my advantage. I’m yet to look at their comments as I write this, because I wanted to get my thoughts down on the initial feeling of taking home this recognition before the analytical side of the achievement comes into play!
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog. If you want to visit some of my earlier entries, visit the Forever Flying blog homepage. And thank you for reading – if you have anything to say please leave a comment below!