Southern Great Barrier Reef cleans up at awards
ONE of the Southern Great Barrier Reef's hidden gems has won gold at the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards held in Brisbane on Friday night.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, famous for its pristine coral cay within a green zone of the SGBR Marine Park, picked up the coveted Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism.
Gladstone's Feast on East Markets and 1770 Reef Tours were also nominated.
Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited chief executive officer Darryl Branthwaite attended the awards ceremony.
"We were delighted to be there and delighted Southern Great Barrier Reef locations were featured in these awards along with the Feast on East Markets and 1770 Reef Tours being nominated," he said.
Meanwhile, Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said Queensland's tourism industry continues to do much of the heavy lifting for the state's economy.
"This year (tourism) is growing by more than 5.5 per cent and employing more than 225,000 people," he said.
"International visitor numbers for Queensland have seen record growth in the 12 months to June 2017, growing 5.6 per cent."
Operating for 33 years, the awards recognise the outstanding achievements of the state's tourism industry, including individuals, industry operators and events.
A total of 83 awards, including 28 Gold, 24 Silver, 24 Bronze, five highly commended and two individual awards across 28 categories, as well as the inaugural RACQ People's Choice awards, were presented in front of 900 guests at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
This year's awards attracted more than 160 nominations from across the state.
It was a particularly successful night for SGBR tourism operators who took out seven accolades including three gold, two silver and two bronze awards.
Lady Elliot Island is located 45 nautical miles east of Seventeen Seventy, although departures to the island take place out of Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Redcliffe and the Gold Coast.
The resort has been recognised as one of the leading ecologically sustainable tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef, providing guests with an opportunity to experience and learn about the island's unique ecosystem with minimal impact.
Only a limited number of guests are allowed on the island at any one time and all activities are conducted in accordance with best practice and minimal impact guidelines to ensure no damage occurs to the island or reef.
GOLD: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, Empire Conference Centre (Rockhampton), The Waterline Restaurant (Keppel Bay Marina)
SILVER: Empire Apartment Hotel (Rockhampton), Kellys Beach Resort
BRONZE: Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Hinkler Hall of Aviation.