Ocean Rafting takes home gold
WHEN Bronze and Silver prize winners for the Major Tour and Transport operators category were announced at the Australian Tourism Awards in Darwin last night, the hearts of Ocean Rafting owners Jan and Peter Claxton sank.
This followed a euphoric sense of elation as their Whitsunday based company Ocean Rafting took the gold.
Co-owner Jan Claxton said they were so surprised to win the accolade they hadn't even planned a speech for the ceremony.
"I was honestly hoping we would get on podium but when they called bronze and silver our hearts sank," she said.
"I don't know if I heard them say Ocean Rafting but then I saw the image of the boats on the screen and thought it was us."
Ms Claxton said the achievement was a wonderful result for the Ocean Rafting Group, but more importantly, it was a credit to the Whitsunday region.
"It makes a huge difference, anyone from around the world will look at it and know what it means and its an absolute privilege to know we are the best tourism operators in Australia. It's a lot to live up to and keeps us on our toes," she said.
"It makes it so much easier to market our destination when you have an accolade like that."
There was more good news as Big 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort won silver for the Caravan and Holiday Parks category.
Pinnacle's Resort and Cruise Whitsundays were also nominated at the Australian Tourism Awards.
Tourism Whitsunday CEO Craig Turner congratulated the winners and said the high number of Whitsunday nominations spoke volumes about the region.
"The thing with winning a national tourism award, is they are so hard to win and admission standards are so high, he said.
"So to win a national tourism award is a challenge and to have four companies doing it says something about our industry.”