Goulburn's Chamber of Commerce has been named Outstanding Local Chamber in the Far South Coast Business Awards.
Chamber president Darrell Weekes said it was Goulburn's first-ever win for the award after finishing as a finalist last year.
"We are in some ways disadvantaged against the coastal chambers because they have a natural drawcard, but this award is testament to the dedication and effort of the chamber and its members," Mr Weekes said.
"We invest our limited resources in supporting projects that actually support local businesses - we also support events that bring people and money into Goulburn - So the kind of things where people can come and stay."
Mr Weekes said the chamber had made a concerted effort this year to create functional programs with tangible results for local businesses.
"That includes the business awards, the shop local 2580 card and the 2580 business expo that we're building for next year," he said.
Counter to the norm, Goulburn's chamber has grown since the COVID-19 pandemic and Mr Weekes said it had been down to targeted local actions to support homegrown business.
"We advocate for our business owners in Goulburn and the reason for that is - people seem to forget - most of them are micro, small and medium businesses," he said.
"It's a tough road if you're a business owner on your own - so to help our members we provided a conduit to things like government services and grants, that way our members don't have to find them on their own."
"We focused on delivering value to our membership."
Mr Weekes said the chamber had taken an active role in amplifying the voices of individual chamber members on issues, whether at a local, state or federal level with support for Wakefield Park being a recent example.
"We have been speaking on behalf of and advocating for Wakefield Park because we know what it delivers for the community at large," he said.
Since its closure, Mr Weekes said visitor bounce-back had been evident in recent festivals, but he also praised investment from council in providing exceptional infrastructure.
"We're learning from the pandemic that there is a pent up demand [for places to visit] and Goulburn is now being recognised as a destination," he said.
"A lot of people used to just associate us with the Big Merino and the jail, but we have tremendous events and tremendous infrastructure like the GPAC, which is a perfect example.
"Its not just exciting [to see visitor numbers] it's really inspiring - looking at the Lilac City Festival as one example, that was an overwhelming success that exceeded expectations - so much so people were struggling to find an empty table in cafes and restaurants."
The chamber will contend for the state award against other regional winners in Sydney on November 18.