Thursday, November 16, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
It’s the beginning of a new era and an exciting fresh start for one of region’s biggest tourism players with Red Cat Adventures selling to SeaLink, the largest marine transport operator in Australia.
Asher and Julie Telford started Red Cat Adventures in 2015 and experienced massive growth, employing 75 crew, expanding to five custom-built vessels and 22 jet skis by the time they sold this week.
The couple had been approached by big companies before, but Julie said it was only now that it felt like “the right time to sell” and that SeaLink’s people and environment focussed values were “the right fit” for their business.
SeaLink launched its Whitsunday-based marine transport and tour company in 2021 and, while their business portfolio now includes Red Cat Adventures, each of the businesses will carry on as usual.
The Whitsundays overall tourism offering just got stronger and significantly bigger with SeaLink’s acquisition of Red Cat Adventures, Whitsunday Jetski Tours, and Wildcat Mackay.
And while the new look business will operate the same as before, it will undoubtedly have more clout in the market, becoming arguably one of the biggest tour companies in the region.
Previous owners of Red Cat Adventures, Asher and Julie Telford say that it will be ‘business as usual’ for consumers, agents, and staff, with all brands continuing to offer their much-loved national-award-winning experiences.
The Telfords will also remain at the helm of the business.
“Red Cat Adventures has been part of our family and supported by the Whitsunday community and tourism industry for almost a decade that has been the most rewarding years of our lives,” said Julie Telford.
“We knew when the time was right, we could only move to this next chapter with people we can trust and whose values align to ours, to build on Red Cat’s bold brands, iconic experiences and impeccable customer service levels we’ve worked so hard to create.”
Asher Telford, shared his personal ties to SeaLink, saying, "I have a close connection to SeaLink, having been born on Kangaroo Island.”
“I travelled on the SeaLink ferry many times growing up, and before starting Red Cat Adventures I did my Master IV in Adelaide with some of the SeaLink crew; I love that we are joining the SeaLink family with our shared vision of providing award-winning brilliant experiences to visitors from around the world.”
Over the years, Red Cat Adventures has garnered a string of accolades, including a triple National Gold rating.
In 2022, they were awarded Gold for Australia's best Adventure Tourism Business. They also secured gold at the 2018 and 2019 National Awards for Australia's Best Major Tour and Transport Operator.
Donna Gauci, CEO of SeaLink Marine & Tourism, enthusiastically welcomed this significant partnership, stating, "We are thrilled to welcome the Red Cat Adventures team into the SeaLink family”.
"Our companies are committed to showcasing the best the Whitsundays has to offer and providing brilliant unforgettable experiences for our guests. This collaboration denotes a significant milestone for both organisations," she said.
Asher Telford co-owner of Red Cat Adventures, Rob Mitchell General Manager of SeaLink and Julie Telford co-owner of Red Cat Adventures. Photo supplied
Crew from four of Australia’s top marine tourism companies are joining together. Photo credit: Rachael Smith