Gold for Pilbara tourism venture
Ngurrangga Tours took out gold in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism category at the 2016 Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards.
Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded in 28 categories at the gala dinner in Perth last Saturday night.
Ngurrangga Tours owner Clinton Walker said he was not expecting to win.
“I was really excited and humbled and just pretty much speechless,” he said.
“Basically, it means that all our hard work has paid off and we’re getting the recognition that we deserve.”
Mr Walker said he saw big things in the future of the Pilbara’s tourism industry.
“People have been saying there’s nothing to see in the Pilbara for years and I’ve proved them wrong,” he said.
“I see big things for this region and I think mainly because of the strong culture that we have here from an Aboriginal point of view that something that other businesses that can ride on the back of.”
Mr Walker thanked his wife, kids, family and friends for their support.
“I couldn’t have done it without each and every one of them,” he said.
The Ningaloo coast also earned top honours at the gala dinner in Perth, with seven businesses taking home a combined nine medals.
The Ecotourism category was dominated by Ningaloo businesses with Sail Ningaloo taking home gold, Three Islands Whale Shark Dive silver and Ningaloo Discovery bronze.
Ningaloo Discovery also won silver and Three Islands Whale Shark Dive won bronze in Adventure Tourism.
Exmouth Visitor Centre took out silver in Visitor Information Services and Exmouth Holidays accommodation won silver in Specialised Tourism Services.
Live Ningaloo and Set the Hook won joint bronze for New Tourism Business.
Tourism Council WA chief executive Evan Hall said the gala dinner was a great way to pay homage to the hardworking individuals and organisations who helped to shape the industry.
“Since 1972, the awards have highlighted the important role tourism plays in driving WA’s economic and community development, recognising the businesses and individuals who continually raise the standard of the visitor experience,” he said.
“The level of participation and the high standard of entrants in the awards program reflects the passion and professionalism seen in the industry throughout Western Australia.”
Gold winners will go on to to represent WA at the national Qantas Australia Tourism Awards in Darwin next February.
Ngurrangga Tours owner and guide Clinton Walker takes visitors to the ancient rock art sites in the Burrup Peninsula.