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Mark Sarah receives Award for Outstanding Contribution to ACT and Region Tourism Industry

Cockington Green - November 28, 2022

After being part of the Cockington Green Gardens business for more than 40 years, Mark Sarah’s contribution to the ACT and region tourism industry was recognized at a gala awards night held at Parliament House on Friday, 25th November 2022.

Mark was both surprised and humbled when he was announced as the 2022 winner of the prestigious award for Outstanding Contribution by and Individual. Mark received a rousing reception when the announcement was made by National Capital Attractions Association chairman, Russell Jackson.

Russell, on behalf of many other people in the room, thanked Mark for his continued support of so many people over the years. Russell added that he too was a great beneficiary of Mark’s experience in the industry as he was mentored by Mark in his early days and continues to receive great support from Mark.

Mark joins his father, Doug, who created Cockington Green Gardens along with his wife, Brenda, as recipient of this highly regarded award. Mark was accompanied by a table of Cockington Green Gardens outdoor team at the awards who had plenty to celebrate at the industry’s night of nights.

The following excerpts are from the citation accompanying Mark’s award:

“Mark has always seen it as a responsibility to help and support new and emerging businesses find their way in the industry. Mark has been incredibly strong on using his own knowledge to selflessly help others in the interests of growing the local industry and collectively attracting more visitors to Canberra and the region. Mark has never lost his passion for tourism and engaging with people across so many levels. It is in this dynamic tourism environment that Mark is always at his best.

“Mark’s professional contribution and service to the industry has come in many forms. Having spent much of his working life at Cockington Green Gardens responsible for positioning of the attraction, Mark has participated in numerous joint marketing and promotional activities with Visit Canberra, Tourism Australia, the National Capital Attractions Association, and through cooperative activities with other businesses. Mark has undertaken these activities not only to ensure that Cockington Green Gardens maintained its industry profile and presence but to ensure increased visitation to the Canberra Region with the associated economic benefits driving employment and prosperity across the city and region. In addition to the cooperative marketing and promotional inputs provided by Mark, he has twice occupied the chair as President of the National Capital Attractions Association. This also resulted in time spent as a board member on the Canberra Region Tourism Leaders Forum.

“Mark’s industry leadership came to the fore notably at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. As the the Chair of the National Capital Attractions Association, Mark contributed an inordinate amount of personal and business time in supporting and providing advice to the ACT Government and other businesses in developing packages and solutions to counter some of the disastrous impacts on industry from COVID. Additionally, Mark helped to coordinate the collection of critical information from businesses to help inform the development of economic support responses by the ACT Government. As opposed to allowing COVID to completely dictate business outcomes, Mark seized an opportunity to collaborate with government and business through evolving his idea to target local and nearby regional tourists with messaging that Canberra was still open for business. Mark’s concept gave rise the 4Canberra brand which led to a joint marketing and promotional strategy.”