Businesses vying for state awards
THE Whitsundays will be well represented in tomorrow night's Queensland Tourism Awards on the Gold Coast.
Eighteen local businesses feature among the 200 statewide entrants chasing gold medal success in the annual awards at The Star.
Fresh from success in last month's Whitsunday Tourism Awards, Tall Ship Adventures is striving for gold in the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism category.
Tall Ship Adventures owner-operator Joanne Ladd said entering the awards had been very positive for her business.
"We've entered (the awards) regularly over the last 15 years,” Ms Ladd said.
"It allows us to look back over the past year and see what we've achieved.
"It also provides us lots of ideas for how to further improve for next year.”
Red Cat Adventures had a night to remember by dominating the Whitsunday Tourism Awards and will be aiming to continue that winning streak.
Owners Julie and Asher Telford said the family operation, which employs 24staff, had reaped the rewards of hard work.
"We invested significant time, research and funds into ensuring we had products that offered something distinctly different,” Julie said.
"Our major unique selling point is our innovative, cutting-edge, custom- designed vessels that were specifically crafted to operate in the Whitsundays marine environment.
"Winning double gold in the Whitsunday Tourism Awards in 2017 and 2018 has been some of the proudest moments of our lives.”
Other leading hopes include Ocean Rafting, Big 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Whitsunday Jetski Tours and Whitsunday Escape.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones wished Whitsunday- based businesses well in the awards.
"Whitsunday tourism operators support local jobs and are the backbone of Queensland's $25billion tourism industry,” Ms Jones said.
"These operators offer a wide range of products and experiences and showcase our state's unique and beautiful tourism offerings.”
Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the number of entrants in this year's awards made it one of the largest pools in the rich history of the event.