TOURISM operators in the Whitsundays have made their mark at the state's premier industry event, taking out eight awards and 11 finalist places at the Queensland Tourism Awards for 2012.
There were a total of 24 entries from the Whitsundays.
Danielle Krista, who until this week has been the acting Chief Executive Officer of Whitsundays Marketing and Development, received the Young Achievers Award, recognising her contribution to the development of a vibrant and professional tourism industry.
Mrs Krista has been the acting CEO since Peter O'Reilly left the organisation in June.
Wings Diving Adventures won the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism.
Ocean Rafting came home with two awards - Adventure Tourism and also Tour and/or Transport Operator.
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday won the Tourist and Caravan Parks award for the second year in a row.
The Audi Hamilton Island Race Week won the award for Major Festivals and Events, Hamilton Island Conferences won the Business Tourism category and Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows came home with the Standard Accommodation award.
Now in its 28th year, the largest and most highly regarded annual tourism awards in the state were run by the state's peak industry body, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC).
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said 2012 had been a tough year for many tourism operators but overall the feeling at the awards was one of success and pride.
"I was inspired by how many businesses entered the awards this year, and I believe it represents the spirit and resilience that embodies the tourism industry in Queensland," Mr Gschwind said.
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Jann Stuckey said the awards are a benchmark for industry excellence.
"On behalf of the Queensland Government I would like to congratulate all of the award winners as well as the Queensland Tourism Industry Council for their dedication to the industry," Ms Stuckey said.
"The Government recognises tourism as one of the four pillars of the economy and is working with the industry to restore confidence and boost visitation across the state.
The awards are judged by a panel of senior tourism industry professionals. QTIC produces the awards with the support of sponsor Queensland Airports Limited and in partnership with Tourism Queensland and the Queensland Government.
Tourist Attractions: Hamilton Island Golf Club
Tourist Attractions: Daydream Island Resort and Spa "Living Reef"
Tour and/or Transport Operators: Whitsunday Jetski Tours
Tour and/or Transport Operators: Air Whitsunday Seaplanes
Adventure Tourism: Whitsunday Jetski Tours
The Richard Power Award for Tourism Marketing: Tourism Whitsundays "Love the Whitsundays"
Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services: Capers At The Beach Bar andGrill
Backpacker Accommodation: Magnums Backpackers
Unique Accommodation: Whitsunday Escape
Deluxe Accommodation: Daydream Island Resort and Spa
Major Festivals and Events: Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism: Wings Diving Adventures
Business Tourism: Hamilton Island Conferences
Tour and/or Transport Operators: Ocean Rafting
Adventure Tourism: Ocean Rafting
Tourist and Caravan Parks: BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort
Standard Accommodation: Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows
Young Achievers Award: Danielle Krista
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