Jungle Surfing rides wave
THE Far North’s world-class tourism credentials have been recognised, with local operators scooping up 23 gongs at the Queensland Tourism Awards.
The region was the highestawarded in the state, taking home nine gold, six silver, and eight bronze at the awards gala in Brisbane a huge improvement from last year, when the Far North claimed two prizes in 31 categories.
The night, hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, was a celebration of the state’s $22 billion tourism industry.
Cape Tribulation’s Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours was a standout on the night, picking up gold in the tourist attraction and adventure tourism categories.
The Daintree Discovery Centre was another strong performer, winning the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism and the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
Cairns was also recognised for its accommodation, with Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort named the best tourist and caravan park, while Cairns Centre YHA won the ‘‘backpacker accommodation’’ category.
The Quicksilver Group was judged the best major tour and/ or transport operators, while the Cairns Convention Centre, and Gateway Media Group also picked up awards.
Far Northern operators also cleaned up the silver awards, with Cairns Amateurs Carnival, Mossman Gorge Centre, Cairns Zoo and Pullman Reef Hotel Casino all winning second place in their respective categories.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland chief executive Rob Giason said the region’s strong showing reflected its resurgence as a destination.
The latest statistics show the Far North has enjoyed a 16 per cent rise in international visitors for the year ending June 2013, while domestic holiday visitors are also up 11 per cent. ‘‘We also are fortunate to have tourism operators with exceptionally high standards of service delivery as well as the distinct i on of i nnovative t our options,’’ Mr Giason said.
‘‘Tropical North Queensland boasts more than 100 ways to experience the Great Barrier Reef and has more than 600 tours departing daily to the Reef, rainforest and other attractions."
QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind praised the 12 per cent increase in nominations for this year’s awards. ‘‘Queensland’s tourism industry is strong and the outlook on growth is positive,’’ he said.
In its 29th year, the awards are judged by a panel of industry experts who volunteer their time to sift through written submissions and travel across the state experiencing the nominated businesses.