Thursday, May 25, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
The award-winning Big Mango has a reputation for not only being one of the most popular ‘big things’ in Australia, but also for being one of the friendliest tourist information centres in the country.
In 2022 the Big Mango was named the Top Tourist Attraction at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards and earlier this year the dedicated volunteers were nominated for an Australian Day Award.
With 16 volunteers on the books, all donating a minimum of three to four hours of their time per week, it is easy to see what lies at the heart of the centre.
Bowen Tourism and Business is guided by its Manager, Leanne Abernethy, two full-time staff and four casual staff.
But it is the sea of volunteers that make up the vital additional hours needed to enable the centre to open seven days a week and provide over 40,000 visitors a year with helpful advice about the local area.
“Our incredible volunteers greet our visitors seven days a week,” said Ms Abernethy.
“They are all very passionate and dedicated, and as we are a not-for-profit organisation this really helps save on staffing costs so that any profit we make is used to market Bowen as a destination.”
The Information Centre is also a booking agency which has a wealth of knowledge about local tours and activities, and it holds over 350 brochures on all regions across Queensland.
Inside the centre, you will also find an extensive range of mango inspired merchandise.
From soaps to chutneys, candles to sauces and even branded socks with Kenny the Mango emblazoned on them – the information centre really understands how to make the most of the local icon.
“Our Mango Daiquiri Mix has proved very popular too!” said Ms Abernethy.
Some of the BTB volunteers: Mark Steen, Margie Hurst, Trudy Starkey, Janice Germain, Marie Bailey, Anne Steen and Kev Clarke.Photo credit: Rachael Smith