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Region’s best recognised

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THE REGION’S best businesses were recognised at a glittering awards ceremony, on Friday (October 20).

The red carpet was rolled out, and stars of the tourism industry shone brightly at the Whitsundays Tourism Awards, held in true Hollywood style, at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre.

More than 300 guests attended the star-studded gala awards event, presented by Bishopp Advertising and the Reef Gateway Hotel, which celebrated the successes of the tourism and business industry in 2022/2023.

Dressed in their finest Hollywood-themed cocktail attire, guests strolled down the red carpet and, amid the dazzling lights and flashes of paparazzi cameras, the night unfolded as a well-deserved night off for many of them.

The first Tourism Awards event to be held at the new Proserpine Entertainment Centre saw guests enjoy a relaxed evening of entertainment on the lawn, followed by an awards ceremony in the auditorium.

Beyond celebrating excellence, it was a night to pay homage to the extraordinary contributions that the tourism sector makes to the Whitsundays region.

Tourism Whitsundays CEO Rick Hamilton said the Whitsundays Tourism Awards were the region’s most anticipated event.

“Crafting an award submission isn’t for the faint of heart,” Mr Hamilton said.

“It is an intentional journey that encourages operators to delve deep into their businesses, reflecting on how their efforts rippled through to benefit not only customers but also the local community and the region at large.

“We are the most tourism-reliant region in Queensland, with one in three jobs dependant on tourism.

“The awards are a tribute to the region’s reliance on tourism, with everyone gathered to applaud their own achievements, their competitors’ feats, and, most importantly, the collective triumphs of the tourism industry.”

The Whitsundays Tourism Awards were supported by generous sponsors (in alphabetical order): Star 101.9 and 4MK, Bendigo Bank, Bishopp Advertising, Bookeasy, Bowen Tourism and Business, Cruise Whitsundays, Daydream Island, Fraser Ford, Graphic House, Hamilton Island, KB Design, Proserpine Entertainment Centre, Reef Gateway Hotel, R Jean Photography, TP Events & Styling Whitsunday, Whitsunday Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mackay and Whitsunday Life Newspaper, Whitsunday Transit, Whitsunday Tickets.

Tourism Whitsundays would like to congratulate all the entrants and recognise the following winners of this year’s award categories:

Tourism AwardsWinner
Adventure TourismOcean Rafting
Caravan & Holiday ParksBIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort
EcotourismBell Tents Whitsundays
Excellence in Accessible TourismBIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort
Festivals and EventsGreat Barrier Reef Festival
Major Tour & Transport OperatorsOcean Rafting
New Tourism BusinessDriftwood Tours
Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer GroupBowen Tourism and Business
Self-Contained AccommodationPinnacles Airlie Beach
Tourism Retail, Hire & ServicesWhitsunday Coast Airport
Tour & Transport OperatorsIconic Whitsunday Adventures
Unique AccommodationCruise Whitsundays
Visitor Information ServicesBowen Tourism and Business
5 Star Luxury AccommodationInterContinental Hayman Island Resort
4-4.5 Star Deluxe AccommodationMirage Whitsundays
3 – 3.5 Star AccommodationMagnums Accommodation Airlie Beach
Best of Queensland – AccommodationElysian Retreat
Best of Queensland – DiningThree Little Birds Espresso
Best of Queensland – ExperiencePortland Roads
Bob Porter Award for Outstanding Contribution by an IndividualCraig Turner
Young Achiever AwardJames Unsworth
Business Awards 
Award for Excellence in Customer Service by an Individual or BusinessThree Little Birds Espresso
Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Booking ServiceMagnums Accommodation Airlie Beach
Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Hospitality VenueThree Little Birds Espresso
Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays RetailerAirlie Health Hub
Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Services ProviderShiift
Bowen Business of the YearBirds Fish Bar – Bowen Fisherman’s Seafood
Collinsville Business of the YearPit Pony Tavern
Proserpine Business of the YearWhitsunday Creatives
Whitsundays Business of the YearMagnums Accommodation Airlie Beach
Business Legacy Achievement AwardAllan Milostic
People’s Choice Awards 
People’s Choice Award – AccommodationBIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort
People’s Choice Award – ExperienceOcean Rafting

PHOTO @RJeanPhotography

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