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:
|Adventure Tourism||Ocean Rafting|
|Caravan & Holiday Parks||BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort|
|Ecotourism||Bell Tents Whitsundays|
|Excellence in Accessible Tourism||BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort|
|Festivals and Events||Great Barrier Reef Festival|
|Major Tour & Transport Operators||Ocean Rafting|
|New Tourism Business||Driftwood Tours|
|Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group||Bowen Tourism and Business|
|Self-Contained Accommodation||Pinnacles Airlie Beach|
|Tourism Retail, Hire & Services||Whitsunday Coast Airport|
|Tour & Transport Operators||Iconic Whitsunday Adventures|
|Unique Accommodation||Cruise Whitsundays|
|Visitor Information Services||Bowen Tourism and Business|
|5 Star Luxury Accommodation||InterContinental Hayman Island Resort|
|4-4.5 Star Deluxe Accommodation||Mirage Whitsundays|
|3 – 3.5 Star Accommodation||Magnums Accommodation Airlie Beach|
|Best of Queensland – Accommodation||Elysian Retreat|
|Best of Queensland – Dining||Three Little Birds Espresso|
|Best of Queensland – Experience||Portland Roads|
|Bob Porter Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual||Craig Turner|
|Young Achiever Award||James Unsworth|
|Award for Excellence in Customer Service by an Individual or Business||Three Little Birds Espresso|
|Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Booking Service||Magnums Accommodation Airlie Beach|
|Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Hospitality Venue||Three Little Birds Espresso|
|Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Retailer||Airlie Health Hub|
|Award for Most Outstanding Whitsundays Services Provider||Shiift|
|Bowen Business of the Year||Birds Fish Bar – Bowen Fisherman’s Seafood|
|Collinsville Business of the Year||Pit Pony Tavern|
|Proserpine Business of the Year||Whitsunday Creatives|
|Whitsundays Business of the Year||Magnums Accommodation Airlie Beach|
|Business Legacy Achievement Award||Allan Milostic|
|People’s Choice Awards|
|People’s Choice Award – Accommodation||BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort|
|People’s Choice Award – Experience||Ocean Rafting|