Al Grundy hon­oured to re­ceive ma­jor award


“WOW.” That was how an emo­tional Al Grundy re­sponded after be­ing an­nounced as the win­ner of the “Bob Porter Award for an Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion by an In­di­vid­ual” at the Whit­sun­day Tourism and Business Awards on Satur­day night.

To­tally over­whelmed, Mr Grundy ex­plained how he’d moved to the re­gion to start his business – Ex­plore Whit­sun­days – 17 years ago be­cause he had vis­ited as a young man and had seen the beauty of the place.

“I love this place and I love the in­dus­try,” he said as he ac­cepted his award.

“When I started, we car­ried 3000 peo­ple a year, now we are car­ry­ing 30,000 peo­ple a year.

“Hon­estly, I am stoked. We are so lucky to have White­haven Beach in the re­gion and the 74 is­lands that make up the Whit­sun­days. That’s amaz­ing.

“As a com­mu­nity, we need to work to­gether, to work hand in hand with the peo­ple of Bowen and the re­source in­dus­try to pro­tect them and look after them,” he said.

After hav­ing time to re­flect in the fol­low­ing days, Mr Grundy was still quite over­whelemed.

He has thanked the WMDL Board and the Tourism Ad­vi­sory Group for the award which he de­scribed as ‘both hum­bling and a huge sur­prise’.

“We sit on some of the most valu­able tourism as­sets glob­ally and I’m so very proud to rep­re­sent the area for the greater gain of all in the com­mu­nity,” he said this week.

“The Whit­sun­days punches well above its weight when com­pared with other tourism des­ti­na­tions with large bud­gets. WMDL and all the mem­bers should be proud of the achieve­ments, through the tough­est eco­nomic pe­riod for tourism.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Grundy, the re­cent up- grades and re­fur­bish­ments to the Air­lie Beach tourist precincts and in­fra­struc­ture, and qual­ity tourism of­fer­ings in com­bi­na­tion with a fall­ing Aus­tralian dol­lar, boded well for the fu­ture of tourism in the Whit­sun­days, how­ever he em­pha­sised the need to pro­tect the re­gion’s nat­u­ral drawcards.

“We ur­gently need to fo­cus our en­ergy on rev­ers­ing mankind’s im­pacts on the reef and strike the right bal­ance for the en­vi­ron­ment and the econ­omy,” he said.

“In the last 18 months, the char­ter boat in­dus­try has worked hard to gather facts and raise aware­ness of the de­clin­ing wa­ter qual­ity is­sues our lo­cal reefs face, but the high­est ac­co­lades should be re­served for Tony Brown who has given un­told hours and trav­elled the world, from Ger­many to Can­berra, lob­by­ing on our be­half.”

OUT­STAND­ING CON­TRI­BU­TION: Al Grundy after re­ceiv­ing the Bob Porter Award for an Out­stand­ing Con­tri­bu­tion by an In­di­vid­ual.

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