WINNERS AT THE AWARDS: Greg and Naomi McKinnon from BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday, Peter and Jan Claxton from Ocean Rafting, CEO of Whitsundays Marketing and Development Danial Rochford and Matt and Ange Boileau representing Hamilton Island Conferences.
WINNERS AT THE AWARDS: Greg and Naomi McKinnon from BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday, Peter and Jan Claxton from Ocean Rafting, CEO of Whitsundays Marketing and Development Danial Rochford and Matt and Ange Boileau representing Hamilton Island Conferences.

Qld resorts clean up at tourism awards

QUEENSLAND tourism operators have cleaned up at the nation's prestigious industry awards night after taking out the state awards only four months ago.

Tourism operators on the Sunshine Coast and the Whitsundays took out the premier Gold Awards at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on Friday night.

Hamilton Island Conferences received the business tourism gold award while Ocean Rafting and BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort took out the top awards for the tour and transport operator and tourist and caravan park categories respectively.

The rainforest accommodation facility nestled in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, was recognized as the best in Australia for hosted accommodation.

Emporium Hotel took the gold for Luxury Accommodation.

The Sunshine Coast-based Australia Zoo took home the silver award for major tourist attraction.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said this year's award haul reflected local tourism operators' hard work during the past 12 months.

"The past year has been one of recovery and rebuilding for the industry and these award winners demonstrate the commitment of Queensland tourism operators to delivering great products and services," he said.

"QTIC is also acutely aware of the role it can play in bolstering the industry. We've worked hard in recent months to lift our game by providing mentoring, business development and industry support services aimed at creating more robust operators. This focus will continue in 2013 and beyond."

Three Whitsunday operators, including Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Ocean Rafting and Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows, also took out bronze awards.

All the Queensland operators were also winners at the Queensland Tourism Awards in November.

Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey said the Whitsundays region was certainly the stand out.

"While the winners are from all parts of the State, the Whitsundays was certainly the standout, claiming three Gold Awards and more than half of all awards won by Queensland operators," she said.

Queensland winners at Qantas Australian Tourism Awards 2013

Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat - Hosted Accommodation

Hamilton Island Conferences - Business Tourism

Ocean Rafting - tour and transport operator

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort - tourist and caravan park

Emporium Hotel - Luxury Accommodation

Silver Award

Australia Zoo - major tourist attraction

Bronze Award

Audi Hamilton Island Race Week - major festivals and events

Ocean Rafting - adventure tourism

Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows - standard accommodation


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