Last Friday, 6 March at the National Convention Centre in Canberra, Australia’s finest tourism operators came together for the 2019 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Now into its 36th year, the premier awards ceremony recognises the industry’s hallmarks of quality and excellence in tourism experiences across several categories, including cultural tourism, ecotourism, restaurants and wineries, accommodation and festivals.
Swan Valley Visitor Centre and Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures – The Horizontal Hotel were inducted into the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame for taking the top honours for the past three years.
In recognition of extraordinary contributions to the Australian tourism industry, John Morse AM was awarded the Australian Tourism Legend. Morse was honoured for his pivotal role in the growth of international tourism to Australia. He was one of a group of talented, creative and innovative industry leaders who, in the 20 years between 1980 and 2001, overcame barriers and challenges and created new ways of marketing Australia in world tourism markets. His legacy includes the early development of the Chinese market to Australia, the groundbreaking strategy to leverage the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games to strengthen Australia’s tourism brand, and the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism to create employment and keep culture strong. In all, 76 awards were presented across 26 categories on a night that hosted over 800 attendees.
Daniel Gschwind, Chair of the Australian Tourism Awards said that the tourism industry in Australia is facing one of its greatest challenges, with bushfires and a global health crisis disrupting businesses and communities. Our resilience is severely tested, he said, and more than ever we rely on operators’ skills in in responding to dramatic changes in business conditions.
“High standard business practices and a focus on quality in every aspect of operations can make the critical difference. Today we celebrate the best in the business, operators who are committed to quality and professionalism in every aspect of what they do, operators who lead the way” said Mr Gschwind.
Australian Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said that this year’s awards would be a time of celebration and recognition, but also a time to acknowledge the current challenges facing the tourism industry.
“These awards provide the opportunity for our industry to come together and celebrate Australia’s high-calibre and world-class tourism operators,” Minister Birmingham said.
“It’s this quality that should give us all confidence that our tourism industry will bounce back. I congratulate all finalists and winners who stand as flag bearers for an industry marked by exceptional people and amazing experiences.
“Our Government is backing Australia’s tourism industry with record base funding for Tourism Australia, additional targeted funding for major events like the T20 World Cup and an unprecedented $76 million boost to 2020 marketing efforts designed to get Australians and international visitors once again travelling across our incredible nation.
“I thank the industry, state and regional tourism agencies and all of our partners for the way in which they are responding to crisis and supporting the message for Australians to #holidayherethisyear. The winners from tonight demonstrate the quality, world-class visitor experiences Australians can choose from as they support domestic tourism and travel locally.
“Even in times of strain we should celebrate achievements of excellence, which can be found not only in those represented at these awards but in tourism businesses found throughout every region, town and city of Australia.”
The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards celebrates innovation and exceptional standards in tourism, and is made possible through the generosity of sponsors, in particular Qantas, Tourism Australia, VisitCanberra and the ACT Government.
Signature Media, who have been a partner of the Australian Toruism Awards for four years, sponsored the Award for Luxury Accommodation, won by Cicada Lodge at Nitmiluk Gorge – NT.
GOLD – Cicada Lodge at Nitmiluk Gorge – NT
SILVER – Pullman Bunker Bay Resort Margaret River Region – WA
BRONZE – Alkina Lodge – VIC
Click here for the full list of winners.