Whitsunday Escape wins gold at national awards
A WHITSUNDAY charter boat business employing up to 10 people in Airlie Beach has punched way above its weight, taking out a top gong at this year’s national tourism awards.
Whitsunday Escape won gold in the unique accommodation category at the 2013 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards held in Sydney last Friday night.
The bareboat company is based at Abell Point and has a fleet of 30 boats.
“WES, we nailed it.” This was the jubilant response from Whitsunday Escape’s managing director Trevor Rees to his operations manager Wesley Cole, when the company took out a gold award at Friday’s 2013 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Whitsunday Escape was the only local winner at this year’s awards, beating an outstanding field of nationwide competitors in the unique accommodation category.
The bareboat charter company is based at Abell Point Marina and offers a wide range of fully equipped yachts, sailing catamarans, and powerboats, suitable for between two and 12 people to holiday on.
With its fleet of 30 boats, much like floating self-contained apartments, Whitsunday Escape also won gold in the unique accommodation category at last year’s Queensland Tourism Awards, but Mr Rees said this was the team’s first ever national win.
“I think we are all basically humbled by the honour – we expected to do reasonably well, but we really didn’t expect to win,” he said. “The awards were based on a whole range of criteria, but I think the quality of the staff that we have, the support from our customers over the years and just the day-to-day hard work that goes into running any small business, really shone through in our submission.”
Whitsunday Escape was among a group of 11 Queensland tourism businesses chosen from 200 national award finalists throughout Australia.
Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited (WMDL) acting chief executive officer Daryl Hudson said he was thrilled with their result.
“I am proud that Whitsunday Escape has been recognised for their commitment and passion on a national level. [They have] a firm spot in the Whitsundays’ tourism industry and through [their] hard work and commitment, the company continues to deliver phenomenal experiences,” he said.
The Qantas Australian Tou- rism Awards recognise the exceptional contribution of tourism businesses, service providers and individuals to the multi-billion dollar Australian tourism industry.
Friday’s black tie event at Sydney’s Luna Park was attended by 900 tourism representatives from across Australia. One other Whitsun- day entrant, Ocean Rafting, was a contender in the tour and/or transport operator category for a second time, after taking out the top gong last year.
Mr Rees said he was particularly pleased that a Whitsunday business had been able to win a gold award again this year, “as it keeps the region on the map”. “It goes to show what a unique experience bareboating really is. Where else can you spend a week or more on holidays and wake up to a different view every day?” he said.
For more information visit www.whitsundayescape.com or www.australiantourismawards.com.au.
GOLD: Whitsunday Escape won a gold award in the unique accommodation category at the 2013 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Pictured here are sales manager Alita Crosbie, operations manager Wesley Cole, managing director Trevor Rees and reservations support Deanna Kemp, aboard one of the company's vessels at Abell Point Marina.
JUBILATION: The Whitsunday Escape team were ecstatic to win their first Australian Tourism Award. Pictured are Julie Sladek, Wesley Cole, Trevor Rees and Dan Tannock at the awards ceremony in Sydney on Friday night.
ON THE TEAM: Whitsunday Escape staff, management and boat owners attended the tourism awards gala dinner in Sydney on Friday night. Pictured are Nadine Ballance-Cole and Wesley Cole, Julie Sladek and Trevor Rees, Loraine and Dan Tannock and Virginia and Chris Benning.