By Rebecca Walker
THE Whitsunday region shone at the 2006 Queensland Tourism Awards last Friday night, claiming four of the tourism industry's top accolades.
Fantasea Cruises and Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week won their categories for the third consecutive year and were honoured with entry into the Hall of Fame.
Fantasea Cruises' Reefworld beat nine other nominations to win the Significant Tourist Attraction category, while the Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week took out the Significant Regional Festivals and Events award.
The Big4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort won the Tourist and Caravan Parks award category.
Ocean Hotel's Long Island Resort won the top spot in the Standard Accommodation category.
Long Island Resort assistant general manager, Joanna Moore said it was the first time the resort had won a Queensland Tourism Award and the crew were "absolutely thrilled".
Ms Moore said the award recognised the resort's excellent presentation and dedicated service to guests.
"The property is looking fantastic and we're continually improving it," she said.
Back on the mainland, the Adventure Whitsunday Resort crew celebrated their success with guests.
"We handed out champagne to all the people who came in the park," office frogette Karen Perkins said.
"Everyone here is so happy and proud of what we do, it's a real family atmosphere and for us to achieve something like that as a team makes us feel prouder about the resort we represent," she said.
"We've won the Whitsunday Tourism Award for 11 years running, now that we've got a state award it proves to everyone that we are the best," she said.
Fifteen Whitsunday finalists were also recognised during the gala evening at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.