AUSTRALIAN TOURISM AWARDS CELEBRATES SUCCESS
News source: Tourism Queensland Newsletter, Issue 05, Summer 2006
THE Australian Tourism Awards turned 21 this year, and the Gold Coast lived up to its reputation of being the perfect party town when it hosted the event with characteristic flair.
Torres Strait Island siren Christine Anu and all-time favourite country music icon Lee Kernaghan delighted the audience with exceptional home-grown entertainment along with whip-cracking cowboys and magnificent performing horses from the soon-to-be-opened Australian Outback Spectacular.
But it was the Aussie boy from Beerwah who stole the show when he accepted a special award for his contribution to the tourism industry.
Steve Irwin is a household name around the globe, but this mega star of animal mania is as unspoiled as the nature he loves and works to protect.
The usually khaki-clad Irwin was as he always is when he accepted the award from Federal Tourism Minister Fran Bailey – upbeat and entertaining – and unashamedly proud of his family, his co-workers and what they had achieved together over the past few years.
And the acknowledgments didn't stop there, with Australia Zoo also taking out the top honour in the Tourism Retailing category.
Tourism Queensland Chairman Terry Jackman said Steve Irwin was not only a great ambassador for Queensland , he was also an inspiration to the industry.
“With more than 20 award wins under his belt in the past six years, Steve is a remarkable example to the tourism industry of what can be achieved in a relatively short time,” Mr Jackman said.
“He is great for Queensland , great for Australia and great for tourism.”
Other Queensland multi-award winners to be honoured on the night were Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village (Ecotourism) and Hahn Premium Hamilton Island Race Week (Significant Regional Festivals and Events).
Without exception these operators delivered consistently high quality product and services to their customers.
“I was thrilled to see each of them, for the second consecutive year, take out the top award in their categories.
“It was also a huge night for Ashmore Palms Holiday Village , which won its third consecutive national award in the Standard Accommodation category.
“It's fitting the Illich family's commitment to providing quality, family-friendly accommodation, facilities and service will now be rewarded with admission to the awards' Hall of Fame.
“Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort was also back in the thick of things, picking up the award for Tourist & Caravan Parks for the third time in six years.
“And I was particularly pleased to see a couple of newcomers to the winner's circle as well.
“ Spirit House Restaurant & Cooking School (Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services), and runner up with a commendation Gab Titui Cultural Centre (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism).
“These are businesses that make excellence an everyday part of what they do.
“It is important we, as an industry, recognise their achievements and honour their hard work because they set the benchmark for others to follow.
“And it's wonderful the Australian Tourism Awards gives us the opportunity to do that at the highest level.”
Tourism Australia took the opportunity to launch its new global destination brand campaign as part of the evening's program.
“We are delighted with the campaign and look forward to working closely with Tourism Australia in reinforcing the Brand Australia message within our key markets,” Mr Jackman said.