Written on the 7 November 2011


THE ‘glitter strip’ has proven itself as a tourism powerhouse, taking out four top awards, 14 finalist places and one hall of fame entry in the 2011 Queensland Tourism Awards at Brisbane Convention Centre.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says the annual awards recognise the resilience of local tourism operators.

"In true Queensland style, they have dug deep and continued to deliver our visitors a shining holiday experience,” says Bligh.

“They lead the pack through innovation, stand-out business practices and exceptional service, product and experiences."

In a tribute to the legacy of late Sea World founder Keith Williams, the amusement park owned by Village Roadshow Theme Parks won the major tourist attractions category.

Sea World general manager Jeff Hughes says he was ‘thrilled’ to receive the gong.

“We are honoured to receive the highest recognition from Tourism Queensland,” says Hughes.

“We have recently announced details of the world’s first SpongeBob SquarePants parade, which will launch at Sea World this Christmas. The multi-million dollar parade will be a large-scale attraction for fans of all ages.”

Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach (SGCB) won the meetings and business tourism category.

It had been widely tipped that the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre would secure its third consecutive gong in the same category, but the Sofitel emerged as winner and was chosen over Jupiter’s Townsville, Hilton Cairns and O’Reilly’s Lost World Conference Centre.

“It clearly outlines our strengths and weaknesses and serves as a great snapshot for what we have achieved – and how the business will continue to move forward,” says SGCB general manager Marcus Hanna.

In a double gong for Broadbeach, tourism body Broadbeach Alliance won the state title for the festivals and events category with its 10th Annual Blues on Broadbeach festival.

The 2010 Gold Coast Airport Marathon won in the major festivals and events category for the third year in-a-row, with the record also giving automatic entry to the hall of fame.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind says the wins were commendable.

“Congratulations to all the winners, finalists and judges commendations – and a special mention to our two new Hall of Fame recipients, the 2010 Gold Coast Airport Marathon and azjure studio retreat,” says Gschwind.

“Tonight’s winners should be proud of the resilience they have shown, refining their businesses and creating new ways to attract visitors to the Sunshine State.”

Volunteers were also recognised, with Capricorn Coast Visitor Information Centre volunteers Trevor Belz and Beverley Gilligan winning the Outstanding Contribution by a Volunteer or Volunteer Group Award.

The pair collectively volunteered for 42 years as ambassadors for the Capricorn Coast Visitor Information Centre in Yeppoon, giving up more than 20,000 for the benefit of the Capricorn Coast and Great Barrier Reef regions.

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll says the pair’s dedication and passion for their local area pays a tribute to all 100 volunteers.

“Nominating them for this award was the least we could do to say thank you,” says Carroll.

The Queensland Tourism Awards have run since 1984 and are judged by a panel of senior tourism industry professionals.

Finalists include:

  • Sea World Whale Watch (Steve Irwin award for ecotourism)
  • Harbour Town Gold Coast and O'Reilly's Lost World Spa (specialised tourism services)
  • O'Reilly's Lost World Conference Centre and Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (meetings and business tourism)
  • Paradise Jet Boating and Sea World Whale Watch (tour and/or transport operators)
  • Paradise Jet Boating (adventure tourism)
  • Village Roadshow Theme Parks - VIP Campaign (Richard Power award for tourism marketing)
  • One Step Further - Steps to Success (tourism education and training)
  • O'Reilly's Canungra Valley Vineyards (tourism wineries, distilleries and boutique breweries)
  • The Mouses House (hosted accommodation )
  • NRMA Treasure Island Holiday Park (standard accommodation)
  • Palazzo Versace (luxury accommodation)





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