'Totally overwhelming': Tourism operators snag gold gongs
WHITSUNDAYS' tourism operators were honoured at the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards on Friday, bringing home a swag of awards including three golds.
Held at the Novotel Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast, the glittering event saw representation from more than a dozen Whitsunday operators, who brought home three golds, four silvers, five bronzes and a highly commended between them.
Two operators, Cumberland Charter Yachts and Red Cat Adventures, both won gold, with the latter winning two top gongs.
Cumberland Charter Yachts general manager Sharon McNally said taking out gold in the unique accommodation category was "totally overwhelming” and the team was still "riding high”.
"We were completely shocked and stunned - it was totally unexpected - we were up against some really stiff competition in the category,” she said.
"It's very motivational for the team - it's the goal we all work towards for the whole team.
"It's been a challenging year, so it's a great reward, not just for staff but also the boat owners who invest in us. All we can do is put our best foot forward.
"I would like to thank all the sponsors and the event organisers for a very lovely evening in a slick venue.”
Red Cat Adventures was awarded gold in both the adventure tourism and major tour and transport operators categories.
This was the second consecutive year the business has received double gold, making owners Julie and Asher Telford, and their team of 30 staff, incredibly proud.
"For me, it's validation of what we do - that we didn't just have one good year,” Asher said.
"We've actually built a solid, long-term business giving customers experiences of a lifetime.”
Tourism Whitsundays CEO Tash Wheeler said it was great to see the ongoing participation in the state awards by Whitsundays operators each year.
"The Whitsundays are a world-class and diverse tourism destination in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.
"Over the past 12 months, the industry has continued to focus on delivering exceptional experiences.
"We are so proud to have so many of our tourism products represented in the Queensland Tourism Awards each year.
"A big thank you to Queensland Tourism Industry Council for putting on another wonderful celebration of tourism.”
Red Cat Adventures: Major Tour and Transport Operators
Red Cat Adventures: Adventure Tourism
Cumberland Charter Yachts: Unique Accommodation
Local Tickets Pty Ltd: Specialised Tourism Services
Ocean Rafting: Major Tour and Transport Operators
Whitsunday Jetski Tours: Adventure Tourism
BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort: Caravan and Holiday Parks
Whitsunday Coast Airport: Specialised Tourism Services
Cruise Whitsundays: Major Tour and Transport Operators
Ocean Rafting: Adventure Tourism
Cruise Whitsundays Reefsleep: Unique Accommodation
Airlie Beach Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassador Program: Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group
Northerlies Beach Bar and Grill: Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services