The 2009 Tour Down Under was named the Best Tourism Event at the inaugural Australian Event Awards at a ceremony last night in Sydney.
Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith says the award gives well-deserved recognition to the event, which has become the biggest cycling race in the Southern Hemisphere and a major tourism attraction.
Other winners included Carols by Candlelight (best charity or cause-related event), School of Management, University of SA (best education program), Adelaide Fringe 2009 and BankSA (best partnership by a business or media outlet).
"The Tour Down Under has grown every year since its inception in 1999 and is a major drawcard to attract visitors to South Australia," says Dr Lomax-Smith.
"With Lance Armstrong making his cycling comeback in Adelaide, the 2009 Tour Down Under became the biggest event ever staged in South Australia.
"Over 36,000 people from interstate and overseas travelled to South Australia specifically to watch the 2009 Tour Down Under and injected a massive $39 million into the State’s economy.
"Visitors travelled here to watch the world’s best cyclists race the first UCI ProTour event of the season, to take part in the range of associated events and public rides, and enjoy the great attractions and hospitality that South Australia has to offer.
"Television coverage of the event also beamed South Australia’s beautiful vineyards and spectacular coastline into homes across the world."
The Tour Down Under is owned and managed by the South Australian Government through Events South Australia, the major events division of the South Australian Tourism Commission.
"I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making the 2009 Tour Down Under the best tourism event in Australia," says Dr Lomax-Smith.
"The hard work and commitment from everyone involved, including the event team, sponsors, local councils, emergency services and volunteers, have created an iconic event of which we can all be very proud."
The 2009 Australian Event Awards rewards innovation, recognises excellence and unites the entire Australian Events Industry.
The 2010 Santos Tour Down Under will be held in South Australia from 17-24 January 2010. For more information, visit www.tourdownunder.com.au.