Whitsundays tourism operators strike gold
TWO Whitsunday-based operators won gold at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Tasmania on Friday night.
Red Cat Adventures and BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort beat out a host of interstate rivals in their respective categories at the glittering awards held in Launceston.
Red Cat Adventures were crowned top of the pops in the Major Tour and Transport Operators category.
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort claimed the coveted prize in the Caravan and Holiday Parks division.
The Whitsundays region finished the night with three awards.
Whitsunday Escape secured silver in the Unique Accommodation category.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) chief executive Daniel Gschwind said all three Whitsundays operators were deserving recipients.
"Locals and visitors alike have been delighted by the experiences Red Cat Adventure, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort and Whitsunday Escape provide and to see them recognised on a national scale is fantastic for the Whitsundays region and for Queensland," Mr Gschwind said.
Tourism Whitsundays chief executive officer Tash Wheeler congratulated the operators on their success and said it was a significant result for the region.
"For the Whitsundays to have three national finalists up for four awards is a testament to the high standard of experiences on offer in the Whitsundays and once again demonstrates how our small region continues to punch well above our weight," Mrs Wheeler said.
"It's an honour for the Whitsunday tourism industry to have these businesses representing us at the Australia Tourism Awards."
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox also hailed the results.
"I am always a proud Mayor when representing the Whitsundays as our tourism stakeholders always excel on the national stage," he said
"These awards are recognition for the amazing resilience and enthusiasm of our tourism operators and also the industry leadership by Tourism Whitsunday CEO Tash Wheeler and board chair Al Grundy.
"We are the custodians for a wonderful and unique part of the world so I am always keen to shout long and loud that the Whitsunday Region is the best tourist destination in the world."
It was a big night for the Sunshine State's tourism industry.
Queensland took home six gold, eight silver and three bronze awards across the 25 categories, including the induction of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers into the National Hall of Fame - the State's first inductee in a decade.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the results highlighted the strength of Queensland's world-class tourism industry, valued at $25 billion.
"I'm so proud of all the Queensland winners and nominees recognised at the Australian Tourism Awards tonight and I congratulate them for their outstanding contributions to our industry," Ms Jones said.