GOLD Coast tourism operators are celebrating after bagging six gongs at this year’s Queensland Tourism Awards.
This year’s awards, which celebrate the dedicated individuals and successful operators of the state’s $25 billion tourism industry, attracted more than 160 nominations from across the state.
A total of 83 awards were presented to deserving recipients in front of 900 guests in a fitting ceremony at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday night.
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Tourism operators on the Gold Coast walked away with two Gold, three Silver and one Bronze award on the night.
The Gold award for Adventure Tourism went to Tree Top Challenge, an adventure park featuring zip-lining and tree-top courses, climbs, bridge walks and drops, on Mount Tamborine.
O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards took out the top award in the Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category.
Meanwhile, RACV Royal Pines Resort brought home two silver awards, one for Luxury Accommodation and another in the Business Event Venues category.
Surfers Paradise Alliance is also celebrating two wins in the Major Events and Festivals Category, taking home a silver for its annual Sand Safari Arts Festival and a bronze for its free music festival, Surfers Paradise Live.
Tourism operators in the Brisbane and Tropical North Queensland regions each walked away with 15 awards, while those in the Whitsundays closely followed with 14.
It’s a massive achievement for operators in the Whitsundays following the challenges and heartbreak many of them faced after Cyclone Debbie ravaged the area earlier in the year.
The Sunshine Coast and Southern Great Barrier Reef each collected 7 awards.
For a full list of winners, click here.
For the first time in the Awards’ 11-year history, Queenslanders were given the opportunity to vote for their favourite tourism experience as part of the RACQ People’s Choice Award.
Sunshine Coast’s RACV Noosa Resort took out the People’s Choice Award for Accommodation, while Tropical North Queensland’s Paronella Park stole Queenslanders’ hearts in the Experiences and Services category.
QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said the 33rd Queensland Tourism Awards had attracted an outstanding array of tourism operators across all award categories.
“I congratulate the winners of the 28 business, event and individual categories, as well as winners of the inaugural RACQ People’s Choice category – RACV Noosa Resort and Paronella Park in Cairns,” he siad.
“All operators and individuals have demonstrated excellence in Queensland’s thriving tourism industry.
“The industry has continued to grow in the past financial year, even in the face of Cyclone Debbie and its aftermath.
“In the past year, the Queensland tourism industry continued to do much of the heavy lifting for the state’s economy, this year growing by more than 5.5% and employing more than 225,000 people.”
“International visitor numbers for Queensland saw record growth in the 12 months to June 2017, growing 5.6% per cent. Some 2.6 million international visitors generated $5.2 billion in overnight expenditure.
“While these numbers are certainly positive, the industry faces intense global competition for market share.
“Queensland must continue to excel in every business to capture the attention of first-time and returning visitors from Australia and around the world.”
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the Queensland Tourism Awards recognised excellence in the tourism industry.
“The Queensland tourism industry is growing from strength to strength thanks to the hard work of our tourism operators who deliver fantastic products and experiences.
“The Palaszczuk Government will continue working with tourism operators to grow the industry and deliver jobs for Queenslanders.
“Congratulations to all nominees and winners for your dedication and showcasing the best of Queensland to visitors.”
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills said the annual Queensland Tourism Awards provided the perfect platform to recognise the industry’s leading operators.
“Our tourism industry is critical to the state’s ongoing growth and prosperity, and the Queensland Tourism Awards winners are the best of the best,” he said.
“We are proud of our 11 year association as presenting partner of the Queensland Tourism Awards, which highlight the contribution Queensland businesses and individuals have made to domestic and international visitors.”
The Queensland Tourism Awards is hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and presented by Queensland Airports Limited in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and supporting partner Tourism Australia.
The Queensland Tourism Awards are judged by a panel of industry experts who volunteer their time to assess written submissions and travel throughout Queensland to experience the amenities and services of nominated businesses.
Queensland’s Gold Award winners will gain automatic entry into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in Perth on 23 February 2018.