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Regional Australia outdoes cities at tourism awards

Regional Australia outdoes cities at tourism awards
February 16, 2013

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park named best major tourist attraction, Madame Tussauds Sydney awarded best new tourism development at 2012 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

Tourism operators in big cities and Australia's major tourism areas missed out at the 2012 Australian Tourism Awards last night, with tourism in the Northern Territory and Tasmania receiving multiple awards.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was named best major tourist attraction; Venture North Australia NT received the heritage and cultural tourism award; Bruny Island Cruises, Tasmania was named best tourism attraction while Totally South Tourism's The Maria Island Walk in Tasmania won the adventure tourism award.

The 2012 Tamworth Country Music Festival won the best major festival and event award while the Deni Ute Muster in country NSW won the best event award.

Breaking the pattern of awards to regional Australia, Madame Tussauds Sydney was awarded best new tourism development while the Sydney Harbour YHA won the best backpacker award.

Presented in Hobart, the 28th Australian Tourism Awards celebrated the highest achievements of Australian tourism businesses.

Winners were announced from 27 categories covering the many sectors and experiences of a diverse tourism industry.

National Tourism Alliance Chairman, John Hart, congratulated all finalists and winners stating "we recognise and applaud the many businesses who continue to demonstrate excellence in servicing the needs and exceeding the expectations of both domestic and international visitors – you are living examples of the finest of quality tourism experiences in Australia."

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy commended the finalists and category winners for their collective effort in delivering 'world's best' tourism experiences in Australia.

McEvoy added "tourism is Australia's largest services export industry and when combined with the domestic travel market contributes $96 billion annually to the national economy.

"Currently we are seeing continued growth in both international and domestic tourism and maintaining our world class tourism offering, through consistent quality and the highest standards of service, is critical to the ensuring Australia's ongoing desirability as a world class tourism destination.

"The products and services offered by the operators recognised in this year's Tourism Awards are the frontline of the Australian tourism experience and are critical to delivering on our marketing promise of why there truly is nothing like Australia – I personally commend them for their outstanding efforts."

Over 850 industry leaders and operators attended the event, with an audience including Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson, Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings snd state and territory tourism ministers.

Announcing the winner of the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism, Qantas Executive Manager Global Sales Stephen Thompson stated "as a company committed to actively managing its operations and growth in a sustainable manner, Qantas is pleased to support the award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.

"Qantas continues to look at ways to reduce its environmental impact and this award recognises those Australian Tourism Operators who set out to do the same. We congratulate Pennicott Wilderness Journeys on winning the award this evening."

The national Outstanding Contribution Award by an Individual was won by Simon Currant AM, from Tasmania.

Current has earned a national reputation as an innovator with visionary thinking and leadership, particularly in the areas of responsible and sustainable tourism.

The Australian Tourism Awards are owned and managed by the National Tourism Alliance (NTA) on behalf of the Australian tourism industry.

The full list of winners follows:

Winner: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

International and national tourists visiting Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park experience one of Australia's most iconic World Heritage sites and an outstanding hallmark attraction.
300,000 tourists a year receive world class tourism experiences through the unique natural and cultural offerings at the park. Tourists are inspired by the visual immensity and powerful spirituality of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. This ancient land has been actively managed by generations of Anangu, the Aboriginal traditional owners, and continues to hold powerful cultural connections today.
Anangu welcome visitors to their land to share their knowledge of Tjukurpa, ancestors and culture.

Silver: Australia Zoo, Queensland
Bronze: Melbourne Museum, Victoria

Winner: Bruny Island Cruises, Tasmania
Since its inception in 1999, Bruny Island Cruises has become one of Tasmaniamania's iconic attractions. Over 200,000 guests have joined the infectious, enthusiastic crew on the custom-built yellow boats for the 50 kilometre journey along Bruny Island's spectacular coastline, with its towering sea cliffs, deep sea caves and abundant wildlife.
The business invests considerable resources into publicity and this has brought significant benefit to Bruny Island and surrounding regions through increased visitation, employment, local purchasing and community support.
Bruny Island Cruises supports a range of conservation and humanitarian projects and it has won many state and national awards.

Silver: Cape Byron State Conservation Centre, NSW
Bronze: Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre, ACT

Winner: 2012 Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW
In 2012, Tamworth Country Music Festival, an iconic annual event recognised as one of the top Ten Music Festivals in the world celebrated its 40th anniverSouth Australiary. The 2012 Tamworth Country Music Festival commenced on Friday 20th January and concluded on Sunday 29th January, with over 55,000 people travelling to Tamworth from all around Australia and the world to attend. Tamworth Regional Council has carriage of the event, but the Festival is a truly community-based, organic festival. The 2012 TCMF was bigger and better than ever, with over 2,500 events and 4,000 different performances or gigs in 80 different venues.

Silver: Floriade 2011, A Feast for the Senses, ACT
Bronze: Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Queensland

Winner: Deni Ute Muster, NSW
The Deniliquin Ute Muster and Play on the Plains Festival is one of Australiaês largest rural and Australian themed festivals. The idea for a festival celebrating the Australian icon of the Ute, and Australia's rural identity was created in 1999 to encourage tourist visitation on the NSW Labour Day Long weekend. In 2011, despite being severely rain affected, the Festival was hugely successful when it attracted almost 20,000 people to the two-and-a-half-day event.
Silver: Suzuki Night Market, Victoria
Bronze: Cellar Door Wine Festival Adelaide, South Australia

Winner: Bruny Island Cruises, Tasmania
Bruny Island Cruises provides three-hour coastal wilderness experiences along Bruny Island's rugged coast in Southern Tasmaniamania. Passengers are taken on a 50 kilometre journey below some of Australia's highest sea cliffs to explore sea stacks, deep sea caves and join in the search for the abundant wildlife. Underpinning the experience is a genuine connection with the precious coastal wilderness and the need to conserve it. The business is committed to operating sustainably with an emphasis on maximising benefits to the local community through local purchasing and employment as well as the financial support of conservation and humanitarian projects.

Silver: Jenolan Caves – Ancient Underworld, NSW
Bronze: Out of Sight Tours, Western Australia

Winner: Venture North Australia, Northern Territory
Venture North Australia specialise in high-quality, small group cultural and nature based 4WD tours of the Northern Territory. They hold a number of special entry permits which allows them unparalleled access into many restricted regions of the Northern Territory including Arnhem Land, the Cobourg Peninsula and even parts of Kakadu National Park.Tour guests are escorted by expert guides and learn not only about Indigenous culture but also traders, early missionaries, buffalo shooters and the fascinating history of the British settlement, all of which have contributed to the Northern Territory's rich heritage.

Silver: Jenolan Caves Written in Stone, NSW
Bronze: Kinnon & Co, Cobb & Co Tours, Queensland

Winner: RT Tours Australia, Northern Territory
Food, country and culture. The tour begins with welcoming people to country and starts at the old Arrerente meeting place Mbantua (Alice Springs historical reserve) meeting place. Here visitors learn about its aboriginal and Australian history. In the park people get to see flora and fauna and learn that our bush foods that sustained a population for more than 50,000 years.
We travel to Simpsons gap along the majestic Western Macdonnell ranges following the path of the South Australiacred caterpillars. At Simpsons Gap people experience its beauty its bush foods and story. Dinner in a picturesque area near Simpson's Gap. Here a five course degustation menu is served cooked on an open fire and incorporating bush foods. The product has been designed so visitors can enjoy and engage in food culture and country in a relaxing and non confronting way leaving people with a truly memorable Central Australian experience.

Silver: Mutawintji Eco Tours/Tri State Safaris, NSW
Bronze: Mungalla Aboriginal Tours, Queensland

Winner: Northern Territory Library, Northern Territory
The Northern Territory Library is located inside Parliament House, in Darwin's State Square. The Library provides space for clients to seek information in relaxed and comfortable surroundings, seven days a week. NTL has been in operation for over 30 years.
Visitors to the Northern Territory come to NTL to find information that adds value to their experience of the Territory. Access to information about the Northern Territory's history and culture gives tourists a greater sense of place, helping to enhance their visit. NTL inspires visitors to learn more about the NT by showcasing the Territory's people, history and culture.

Silver: Harbour Town Outlet Shopping Centre, South Australia
Bronze: Austrips, TASMANIA

Winner: Frankston Visitor Information Centre, Victoria
A finalist for the past four years in the Victorian Tourism Awards, the Frankston Visitor Information Centre is the jewel in the crown of the $25 million Frankston Waterfront precinct. With approximately 746,000 visitors to Frankston each year and a local population of 126,000, the Centre services over 90,000 people annually either in person, email or phone and receives over 102,000 website visits.
Owned and managed by Frankston City Council, the Centre offers a one stop shop with an accommodation, tour and event booking service, local knowledge, and an impressive range of regional produce and Australian made souvenirs and gifts.

Silver: Augusta Margaret River Tourist Information Centre, Western Australia
Bronze: BarosSouth Australia Visitor Centre, South Australia

Winner: Hamilton Island Conferences, Queensland
Hosting over 100 business events a year, Hamilton Island is the most versatile venue in the Whitsunday region with the ability to cater for 10 to 1,000 delegates. The Hamilton Island Conference Team offers one-stop conferencing- taking care of every detail from the moment of booking until the last delegate leaves the island. Our unique event venues and facilities include two bespoke conference centres, airport hangars, wide streets, tropical gardens and lawns and a choice of waters-edge venues including marina piers, poolside marquees and beaches, each providing a unique backdrop for our signature WOW Factor events and business meetings.

Silver: Darwin Convention Centre, NT
Bronze: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel, Tasmania

Winner: YellowWater Cruises, NT
Yellow Water Cruises is an Indigenous owned tour guiding operation that gives visitors to Kakadu National Park the exclusive opportunity to explore the breathtakingly beautiful Yellow Water Billabong year round. The Yellow Water Cruise experience dramatically illustrates to visitors why Kakadu National Park is triple world heritage listed. Yellow Water Cruises has successfully operated since 1970 and currently employs 15 staff.

Silver: Quicksilver Group, Queensland
Bronze: V/Line, Victoria

Winner: Ocean Rafting Queensland
Ocean Rafting offers two exciting tour options, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights, with each tour offering an exhilarating ride to Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkelling reefs and guided National Parks walks. Ocean Rafting has access to the stunning and iconic Hill Inlet, and snorkel sites at Hook Island and Border Island ensure a memorable underwater experience. The semi rigid inflatable vessels are super fast allowing guests to experience a fun ride, adventure and education amongst the beauty of the Whitsundays. The Skipper and Eco Host ensure guests have a fun filled adventure, while exploring some of the best Whitsunday destinations.

Silver: Tri Safaris, NSW
Bronze: Maria Island Walk, Tasmania

Winner: The Maria Island Walk, Totally South Tourism, Tasmania
The Maria Island Walk is a beautiful four day experience on the world heritage Maria Island National Park off the east coast of Tasmania.
Starting and finishing in Hobart, small groups of eight guests and two guides the length of the island exploring world heritage history and rare wildlife by day and enjoy candlelit dining in exclusive accommodation at night.
The Maria Island Walk is a Tasmanian family owned and operated tourism business that showcases our unique wilderness and wildlife, gourmet delights and wine and warm hospitality.

Silver: Adventure Underground – Jenolan Caves, NSW
Bronze: Ocean Rafting, Queensland

Winner: Rottnest Island, WA
In a climate of global financial jitters; fierce overseas competition and a flat domestic tourism market, Rottnest Island has invested heavily in marketing in conjunction with its business partners.
Our vibrant new brand, Love My Rotto has featured heavily in print media and TV promotional campaigns, reconnecting the public of Western Australia to its favourite holiday island.
Innovative mixed-use in low season; discounted accommodation packages and a More. Rottnest winter campaign driven largely through e- and social marketing has enabled the Island to maintain higher than industry norm year-round occupancy levels, as well as achieving outstanding visitor satisfaction levels.

Silver: Outback Queensland Travellers' Guide 2012, Queensland
Bronze: Pure Tasmania, Tasmania

Winner: Travel 21fiftythree, Greater Sydney and Surrounds, NSW
Passionate and enthusiastic industry specialists have been delivering our tourism training programs in a flexible, nurturing and award winning environment for almost 20 years. Providing the best solution for up-skilling existing employees by recognising life skills or for new entrants to the industry, our courses range from Skillsets and Traineeships to Diploma and Advanced Diploma level courses. The Hills College and Travel 21fiftythree specialises in tour guiding, holiday parks and resorts, retail travel (domestic and international), wholesaling, indigenous tourism, tourism and event management.

Silver: The Tourism e-kit, by the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, Queensland
Bronze: CIT Tourism and Hotel Management, ACT

Winner: Margan Restaurant, NSW
Margan Restaurant is one part of the Margan Family Wines business owned by husband and wife team, LiSouth Australia and Andrew Margan. The business is based in the beautiful Broke Fordwich wine sub-region of the Hunter Valley, NSW and includes 100 hectares of vineyards, a state of the art winery, the Margan Restaurant and Margan Cellar Door. Margan aims to provide customers with a unique and complete food and wine tourism experience. The restaurant continues along the company's line of estate grown-estate made, sourcing produce locally and from the extensive one-acre 'Margan Kitchen Garden' for its modern Mediterranean inspired menu.

Silver: Max's at Red Hill Estate, Victoria
Bronze: Jacob's Restaurant, Jacob's Creek Visitor Centre, South Australia

Winner: Wyndham Estate Winery, NSW

Established in 1828, Wyndham Estate sits peacefully on the banks of the Hunter River surrounded by undulating vineyard and quiet countryside. It offers visitors a range of experiences including intimate Tastings of one of Australia's favourite wine brands, leisurely afternoons in The Olive Tree restaurant, relaxing picnics with family and friends, spectacular outdoor concerts, or the serenity of a stroll through picturesque vineyards back to a simpler time.
The Wyndham Estate functions centre caters for weddings, dinners, and parties in the gentle ambience of the century old winery. 

Silver: Pindarie Cellar Door, South Australia
Bronze: Fowles Wine Cellar Door and Cafe, Victoria

Winner: BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Queensland
Owned and operated by the McKinnon family for 19 years, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort has developed an enviable reputation as one of Queensland's leading resort caravan parks. While our facilities have positioned the resort as a holiday destination in its own right, it is our commitment to our customers that really sets us apart. Weêve built our reputation on providing a level of service that truly exceeds expectation.

Silver: BIG4 Deniliquin Holiday Park, NSW
Bronze: BIG4 Adelaide Shores Caravan Park, South Australia

Winner: Sydney Harbour YHA, Sydney, NSW
Sydney Harbour YHA is the only backpacker accommodation in Sydney's historic Rocks precinct.
This purpose-built, 354-bed hostel combines T-QUAL accredited facilities with an environmentally sustainable design, and a unique Australian heritage experience, to set a new benchmark in backpacker accommodation. Built above an archaeological dig site, the YHA features ensuite multi-share, double/twin, and family rooms, plus added extras such as WiFi, tour desk, activities, coffee bar, and stunning Harbour views from the terrace. Priced from $39 per person per night, Sydney Harbour YHA provides affordable accommodation for budget travellers in a priceless location.

Silver: Habitat HQ, Victoria
Bronze: Haven Backpacker Resort, Northern Territory

Winner: Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, Queensland
Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat is a romantic hideaway designed for couples set in pristine rainforest in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Joanne and Mark Skinner, owner/operators of this magnificent retreat live onsite and provide guests with an exclusive and welcoming greeting to their very special part of the world. Multi-award winning, rated 4 1/2 star by AAA Tourism, and eco-accredited for the last two years, visitors and guests of this luxurious retreat are treated to "the little things" that impresses even the toughest of critics. Hosts Joanne and Mark delight in continuous quality improvement and in surpassing their guests expectations!

Silver: Mollymook Beach Waterfront, NSW
Bronze: Sheoaks on Freycinet, Tasmania

Winner: Rocky Hills Retreat, Tasmania
Rocky Hills Retreat, a completely private, elegant and intimate space for two, high on a hill overlooking Great Oyster Bay and Maria Island.
The retreat provides a luscious platform on 300 acres of Tasmanian bush from which to engage with nature, to watch the weather roll in, the sun dancing on the sea, the amazing gentle light in the valley at dusk and the stars looking as though they have been lowered to greet you.
Guests love the hand crafted Huon Pine bath on the evening deck and playing in the fully equipped art studio, just a short wander away.

Silver: Eco Beach Broome, Western Australia
Bronze: Rawnsley Park Eco Villas, South Australia

Winner: Narnu Farm, South Australia
Narnu Farm located on Hindmarsh Island the perfect family getaway. 7 x 3 star self contained cottages and a unique Bunkhouse are available for hire for family groups and schools camps. Guest activities include farm animal feeding, hand cow milking, horse riding, truck rides and much more. 

Silver: Blue Moon Cottages, Victoria
Bronze: Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows, Queensland

Winner: Emaroo Port Hughes, South Australia
Emaroo is a four star, two storey, entertainerês delight, superbly equipped, luxurious accommodation that can cater for up to 10 people. Spectacular living areas and games room, plus all the little extra touches to make your stay a memorable one. Guests can take advantage of the most unique deals available including professional catering, fish cleaning and charter boat cruises as well as exclusive discounts and packages with local tourism and hospitality providers.
Emaroo is just a short stroll to the beautiful South beach, a five minute walk to the jetty and boat ramp and only 168 kilometres drive from Adelaide.

Silver: The Observatory Port Macquarie, NSW
Bronze: Mantra on the Esplanade, Northern Territory 

Winner: Emporium Hotel, Queensland
Emporium Hotel opened its doors in June 2007, as a luxury boutique property, focused on delivering the unanticipated in enchanting hospitality, exquisite design, opulence and elegance.
The Emporium Hotel's philosophy ensures every guest experience will be remembered as an exquisite stay,.This property is a statement of luxurious interior design featuring; 102 suites, rooftop terrace, contemporary function centre and Belle €poque French Patisserie.
As an independently owned and managed property we have had the opportunity to drive new thinking in the industry and benchmark what is possible when a team of passionate professionals focus on pushing traditional hospitality boundaries.

Silver: South Australiaffire Freycinet, Tasmania
Bronze: Crown Metropol, Victoria

Winner: Madame Tussauds Sydney, NSW
Madame Tussauds Sydney is a new highly interactive immersive attraction where its customers are able to get up close and personal with the people they really want to meet. The attraction is heavily geared towards Australian icons from diverse areas including Australian history, world leaders, sports, music, culture, science, TV, film and A-list celebrities. Being a brand new attraction in Darling Harbour and a product of a quality that has not existed in Australia before, we are a key new addition to Australian tourism.

Silver: The Berkeley River Lodge, Western Australia
Bronze: RFDS Tourist Facility Alice Springs, NT

Winner: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tasmania

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys provides eco-cruise experiences showcasing the spectacular coastal wilderness of Southern Tasmania. Both its Bruny Island and Tasman Island Cruises feature the highest sea cliffs in the southern hemisphere, deep sea caves and abundant sea and coastal wildlife. Sustainable business practices are core to the businessês success through careful planning and investment, environmental impact minimisation and maximisation of benefits to the local community. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is Advanced Ecotourism Accredited, 100% carbon offset and Earthcheck Assessed, achieving Best Practice scores for all measurements. A significant portion of the business profits are donated towards important conservation and humanitarian projects.

Silver: Sinclair's Gully, South Australia
Bronze: The Falls Music & Arts Festival, Victoria

Related Articles

3rd March 2012 - Best of Australia’s tourism industry honoured at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards

19th March 2010 - Visitor numbers rise at Canberra’s ‘big three’ attractions

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