Thursday, October 26, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Kicking goals across all areas of industry, the Whitsunday Regional Council are celebrating their own this week with two Council-owned facilities and one senior staff member bringing home accolades at last Friday’s Tourism Awards.
For the third year in a row, Whitsunday Coast Airport took out the top gong in the Tourism, Retail, Hire and Services category, closely followed by a second Council-owned facility, Shute Harbour Marine Terminal which was awarded silver in the same category.
Completing the triple, was Whitsunday Regional Council’s Commercial Business Director, Craig Turner, who was awarded the Bob Porter Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual, for his 28-year service to tourism.
Mr Turner said he was both “very humbled and extremely grateful” to receive such a prestigious award.
“I was completely surprised and blown away!” he said.
“I’ve been here for over 28 years and worked very hard – and this award is not for me, I do it all for the area, the people and the industry.
“I am always thinking, what can I do today to improve the destination for tomorrow.”
Mr Turner said he was also thrilled to see two of the facilities he oversees receive an award at Friday’s gala event.
“This year with the Airport we really focused on the business’ performance in the submission,” he explained.
“We have seen 30 per cent increases across the board – flights, gross profit, and nett profit.
“We have also had the busiest year in our 72-year history.”
In the 2022/23 financial year Whitsunday Coast Airport saw a record-breaking 477,000 passengers move through the airport and this financial year, it is forecast to smash the previous record, with 598,000 passengers expected to pass through.
“It’s fantastic to see how what we do on an annual basis gets recognition, it really validates what the team is doing every day at the airport,” said Mr Turner.
“I also think the whole awards process is extremely valuable – it’s a good opportunity to work on the business rather than in it – look at our successes and challenges, do a business health check.”
Mr Turner said that bringing home a silver award in the same category for Shute Harbour Marine Terminal was also validation for the entire team’s hard work.
“Shaun and the team do an amazing job, the guys work extremely hard, and you can see that through the numbers,” he explained.
“The terminal is now full, in fact we are over-subscribed which is a fantastic achievement, especially considering we have only been open for two years this November.”
Shining across all aspects of the industry, it is clear that transport services in the region are thriving under the safe guidance of an award-winning industry veteran who has a clear plan for the future.
“We’ll be announcing more flights again soon and are looking forward to another prosperous year ahead for the region,” said Mr Turner.
“Congratulations to all the other award winners on the night and a huge thanks to my incredible team.”