The Gorge goes gold


Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT TIBBALLS

THE Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre is well and truly on the map af­ter earn­ing a trio of awards at the Tourism Queens­land awards in Bris­bane on Fri­day night.

The cen­tre won gold in the Qan­tas Award for Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Tourism Cat­e­gory, sil­ver in the Cultural Tourism cat­e­gory and bronze in the Ma­jor Tourist At­trac­tions cat­e­gory.

As­sis­tant gen­eral man­ager Rachael Hodges said the awards, and es­pe­cially the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der cat­e­gory, val­i­dated a lot of the hard work by the team.

“One of the good things about win­ning this award is that we’re re­ally putting indige­nous tourism

and Moss­man Gorge on the map.

“It’s great that this award recog­nises the hard work done by all our staff here, from gallery at­ten­dants to shut­tle bus driv­ers to tour guides to groundskeep­ers and cafe staff.”

The Cen­tre em­ploys a hun­dred staff, and train­ing is a ma­jor part of what it does, with eight res­i­den­tial trainees, three ap­pren­tice chefs, two tour guide chefs and three food and drink at­ten­dants.

This year marks the sec­ond time the Cen­tre has won this award. The pre­vi­ous time was in 2014, when it was the indige­nous Tourism cat­e­gory.

That year, the Cen­tre went on to the na­tional awards to com­pete against its sis­ter at­trac­tion, Uluru and Yu­lara, which is op­er­ated by the same com­pany. Moss­man Gorge won bronze, while Uluru won gold that year.

Uluru has again won gold in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory awards, so both at­trac­tions will be ad­vanc­ing to the na­tional awards in the same cat­e­gory in Fe­bru­ary 2017, mak­ing for a sib­ling ri­valry re­match that Ms Hodges said they were look­ing for­ward to.

Ms Hodges said the on­go­ing pop­u­lar­ity of the cen­tre was fan­tas­tic. In 2015, 45,000 of the 350,000 visi­tors went on the cultural tours rather than only vis­it­ing the gorge.

“For me it’s show­ing that visi­tors to Aus­tralia want to ex­pe­ri­ence hands-on in­ter­ac­tion with indige­nous peo­ple,” she said

“What we do is also in the spirit of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and break­ing down stereo­types by rais­ing aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion about the strong spir­i­tual con­nec­tion that indige­nous peo­ple have with their coun­try.”

For Ms Hodges, the con­tin­ued suc­cess of the Moss­man Gorge Cen­tre bodes well for the fu­ture of the com­mu­nity.

“It’s also about en­sur­ing we have a strong foun­da­tion for the fu­ture of our indige­nous kids.”

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