RED AND GOLD: Red Cat Adventures sealed two gold awards in tonight's Queensland Tourism Awards on the Gold Coast.
RED AND GOLD: Red Cat Adventures sealed two gold awards in tonight's Queensland Tourism Awards on the Gold Coast.

Whitsundays success at state tourism awards

WHITSUNDAY tourism operators secured 13 awards in Friday night's Queensland Tourism Awards on the Gold Coast.

The region amassed four gold, six silver and three bronze awards.

The total haul outstripped last year's overall winner Brisbane and saw the Whitsundays finish second behind the Gold Coast on the overall tally.

Red Cat Adventures continued their dream run of success in recent months, collecting two gold awards in the Major Tour and Transport Operators, and Adventure Tourism, headlining a Whitsundays trifecta in that category.

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort took home the Caravan and Holiday Parks gold award.

Whitsunday Escape was the other local operator to enjoy ultimate success during the sold-out awards at The Star Gold Coast, finishing top of the pops in the Unique Accommodation category.

Ocean Rafting and Whitsunday Jetski Tours each earned recognition in multiple categories.

Ocean Rafting claimed a silver award in the Major Tour and Transport Operators and bronze in Adventure Tourism.

Whitsunday Jetski Tours sealed silver in Adventure Tourism and the bronze award in Tour and Transport Operators.

Other silver award winners were Tall Ship Adventures - Derwent Hunter (The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism), Cumberland Charter Yachts (Unique Accommodation), Mirage Whitsundays (Deluxe Accommodation) and Heart Hotel and Gallery Whitsundays (Luxury Accommodation).

Hemingway's secured a bronze award in the Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services category.

The annual awards celebrate the dedicated individuals and successful operators of the state's $25 billion tourism industry.

A total of 87 awards, including 26 gold, 26 silver, 26 bronze, seven highly commended and two individual awards across 28 categories, as well as the RACQ People's Choice award, were presented in front of 900 guests.

QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind said the 34th Queensland Tourism Awards had attracted a high calibre of tourism operators across all award categories, with more than 170 entries received statewide.

"This year's entrants across 28 business, event and individual categories reflect the diverse and dynamic range of tourism operators helping Queensland's tourism industry flourish,” he said.

"Queensland's tourism industry continues to demonstrate just how invaluable its contribution is to the state's economy, contributing $25 billion or 7.8 per cent of the state's gross product, and employing 217,000 people.

"International visitor numbers for Queensland have seen record growth in the 12 months to June 2018, increasing 5.5 per cent. Some 2.7 million international visitors generated $5.7 billion in overnight expenditure.

"While the industry continues to see growth in visitor numbers and expenditure, Queensland must strive to remain competitive in the global market.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the Queensland Tourism Awards recognised the outstanding achievements of operators throughout the state.

"Congratulations to this year's nominees and winners for your commitment to striving for excellence and showcasing the best address on the planet,” she said.

"Queensland is home to some of the best experiences in the world. These awards celebrate the great work operators have done to develop our diverse range of tourism offerings in the last 12 months.

"Tourism is a cornerstone of our economy, generating $25 billion for Queensland every year. We're committed to growing this sector and backing tourism operators to create jobs in Queensland.”

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.

All Queensland's gold award winners, including Red Cat Adventures, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort and Whitsunday Escape, will gain automatic entry into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in March 2019.

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