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Legends crowned and millions pledged in tourism’s night of nights

Australia’s best tourism businesses were honoured at the glittering Qantas Australian Tourism Awards held in Tasmania’s Cataract Gorge last week.

Among the winners at the 800-guest event was the industry itself, with shadow minister for tourism Anthony Albanese announcing a plan to dedicate $6 million to diversifying Australian tourism.

The pledge was welcomed by Australian Tourism Industry Council chair Evan Hall, who said it would allow tourism businesses to create new experiences, improve service quality and promote themselves to the world.

Other big winners were Australia Zoo’s wildlife warriors the Irwin family, with Bindi, Terri and Robert all crowned Australian Tourism Legends for their promotional efforts.

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said: “Obviously Steve started it off, but following in his footsteps we now have Terri, Bindi and Robert advocating that uniquely Australian lifestyle which underpins the very appeal of our country’s rich and varied tourism experiences.

“Interestingly, when doing our market research for our 2018 Dundee campaign we found that, along with Crocodile Dundee, the Irwins were the most highly associated with best representing this Australian way of life.

“The warmth and authenticity they personify is a real point of difference for Australia.”

Broome’s Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures was inducted into the Hall of Fame after picking up awards for Adventure Tourism, Unique Accommodation and Tourist Attractions. The family-owned business provides unique tourism experiences across WA’s wild north, its services ranging from luxury accommodation to helicopter tours, fishing charters and seaplanes.

The MACq 01 in Hobart picked up the award for Deluxe Accommodation and Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodge in the Northern Territory won for Luxury Accommodation, as well as picking up the gong for Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services.

The Frames in South Australia was voted top Self-contained Accommodation, Victoria’s Cave Hill Creek took the award for Standard Accommodation, Queensland’s BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort was crowned best Caravan and Holiday Park and The Beach House at Bayside in WA was named best Hosted Accommodation.

Federal tourism minister Simon Birmingham paid tribute to the quality of tourism experiences on offer throughout Australia, saying the record numbers of tourists flocking Down Under “doesn’t just happen by accident”.

“It’s due to the passion, commitment and creativity of all those in the industry,” he said.

The gold, silver and bronze award winners of the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, listed in order, are:

Major Tourist Attractions

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tas

National Gallery of Australia, ACT

Busselton Jetty, WA

Tourist Attractions

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, WA

Capricorn Caves, Qld

Katherine Outback Experience, NT

Major Festivals & Events

Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, Qld

Formula 1® 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix, Vic

Splendour in the Grass 2017, NSW

Festivals & Events

Mount Isa Mines Rotary Rodeo, Qld

CinefestOZ, WA

Parkes Shire Council — 2018 Parkes Elvis Festival, NSW

Ecotourism

Fun Over Fifty, Qld

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Vic

Three Capes Track, Tas

Cultural Tourism

Port Arthur Historic Site, Tas

Paronella Park, Qld

Fremantle Prison, WA

Qantas Award for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism

Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences, WA

Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodge, NT

Mossman Gorge Centre, Qld

Specialised Tourism Services

Proud Mary, SA

Small World Journeys, Qld

Willie Creek Pearls at Elizabeth Quay, WA

Visitor Information Services

Swan Valley Visitor Centre, WA

Canberra and Region Visitors Centre, ACT

Tourism Central Australia, NT

Business Event Venues

Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, SA

Holmesglen at Eildon, Vic

Novotel Twin Waters Resort, Qld

Major Tour & Transport Operators

Red Cat Adventures, Qld

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Tas

SkyBus, Vic

Tour & Transport Operators

Kimberley Quest, WA

Ocean Safari, Qld

Autopia Tours — Small Group Adventures, Vic

Adventure Tourism

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures, WA

Roaring 40s Kayaking, Tas

Calypso Star Charters, SA

Destination Marketing

Pie Time, Southern Highlands, NSW

Shoalhaven Tourism — 100 Beach Challenge Campaign, NSW

Yorke Peninsula Tourism, SA

Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services

Cicada Lodge Restaurant at Nitmiluk Gorge, NT

Sandalford Wines, WA

Royal Mail Hotel, Vic

Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries

Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience, Qld

Seppeltsfield Estate, SA

Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, Tas

Caravan & Holiday Parks

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort, Qld

NRMA Port Arthur Holiday Park, Tas

RAC Cervantes Holiday Park, WA

Hosted Accommodation

The Beach House at Bayside, WA

Cobbold Village, Qld

Mulberry Lodge Country Retreat, SA

Unique Accommodation

Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures — The Horizontal Hotel, WA

Whitsunday Escape, Qld

Jamala Wildlife Lodge, ACT

Self-Contained Accommodation

The Frames, SA

Avalon Coastal Retreat, Tas

Balingup Heights Hilltop Forest Cottages, WA

Standard Accommodation

Cave Hill Creek, Vic

Grand Hotel and Apartments Townsville, Qld

Leumeah Lodge, ACT

Deluxe Accommodation

MACq 01 Hotel, Tas

Wallaroo Marina Apartments, SA

Kununurra Country Club Resort, WA

Luxury Accommodation

Cicada Lodge at Nitmiluk Gorge, NT

Alkina Lodge, Vic

RACV Royal Pines Resort, Qld

New Tourism Business

St Andrews Beach Brewery, Vic

Blue Ginger Picnics, NSW

Vasse Virgin at Seppeltsfield, SA

Excellence in Food Tourism

Two Feet & a Heartbeat, WA

Sarina Sugar Shed, Qld

Coal River Farm, Tas

Australian Tourism Legend

The Irwin family

Kate Jackson

Kate Jackson was the former editor of Accomnews.

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