Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


Tourism operators across Queensland and the Whitsundays are celebrating this week following the 2022 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which were held in Sydney last Friday night.

This year, the sunshine state managed to take home the biggest scoop of national awards since 2018 and four of them came from businesses operating in the Mackay and Whitsunday region.

A Winning Weekend For Whitsunday Tourism

BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort took home gold for the best Caravan and Holiday Park category.

Red Cat Adventures’ Wild Cat tour, based in Mackay, was awarded gold for Best New Tourism Business in Australia.

Ocean Rafting won silver for the Best Adventure Tourism experience in the country and Magnums Unique Accommodation Airlie Beach were awarded Best 3 to 3.5 star Accommodation Category.

Our region scored four out of the coveted 16 national awards given to Queensland operators, enabling our state to rise above all the others for its tourism offering.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said that these results confirm that Queensland is Australia’s leading visitor destination.

“Queensland has literally scooped the pool at the Australian Tourism Awards,” he said.

“Congratulations to all Queensland Awards winners and finalists on an absolutely magnificent result.

“The resilience, commitment to success and creativity of Queensland tourism businesses really is second to none.”

The Australian Tourism Awards were not the only accolades brought home from operators in our region, with two other local businesses recognised for their achievement as well.

Queens Beach Tourist Village in Bowen was awarded Best Grey Nomad Large Caravan Park at February’s Great Nomad Awards.

This win accentuates the love Bowen has for the Grey Nomads and the large part they play in Bowen’s tourism industry.

In addition, Club Wyndham Airlie Beach was celebrated on an international level when it received an award for Best Interior Design for its $3 million presidential apartments refurbishment project at the GNEX Vacation Industry Awards earlier this month.

The three-level apartments have undergone a significant refurbishment with extended roof lines and extended facilities including outdoor bathrooms.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO, Rick Hamilton said he is thrilled with the win, stating it’s no surprise to see exceptional Whitsundays experiences acknowledged after a year of record expenditure and visitation.

“Everything about The Whitsundays is outstanding; our icons, our people and our experiences from Airlie Beach and the islands, Bowen in the north to Collinsville and Proserpine in the west,” he said.

“These awards are a testament to just how outstanding our region really is.

“Congratulations to all the winners, what an incredible achievement for your businesses but also for us all in The Whitsundays.”

Tourism Whitsundays Chair, Julie Telford said the tourism industry in The Whitsundays offers exceptional experiences to a wide range of travellers, and these awards really highlight this.

"Visitors to The Whitsundays can be young backpackers on their first East Coast Roadtrip, seasonal Grey Nomads on their tenth visit, or families seeking to bond together for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure,” she said.

“The Whitsundays is an incredible destination that caters to all demographics. Our region should be very proud of how passionate and hardworking our high-quality operators are.

"Everyone working in customer-facing jobs has exceptional service that shines through to our visitors to our Whitsundays.

"A huge congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who is sharing their passion for The Whitsundays with our visitors.”

Aimee Cameron from Tourism Whitsundays, Asher and Julie Telford ownersof Red Cat Adventures, Mayor Julie Hall, Elizabeth Hackett from MagnumsAccommodation and Dan Gabbert from Wildcat Mackay

 Peter and Jan Claxton, owners of Ocean Rafting

 Greg and Jan McKinnon from BIG 4 Adventure Whitsunday

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