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By Mark Beale

NINE Whitsunday tourism businesses were rewarded for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the Queensland tourism industry at the 2014 Queensland Tourism Awards held in Brisbane on Friday night.

Whitsunday Jetski Tours, the Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre, Whitsunday Escape, Airlie Day Spa, True Blue Sailing, Daydream Island Resort and Spa, Magnums Backpackers, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort and Cruise Whitsundays, were all responsible for winning the region a swag of 11 awards, in gold, silver and bronze, across a variety of categories.

Whitsundays Marketing and Development Limited Executive Director, Jeff Aquilina, said he was very proud of the region’s efforts.

“Our local tourism businesses continue to deliver excellent tourism experiences and the Queensland Tourism Awards have once again shown that the Whitsundays has some of the state’s best tourism businesses,” he said.

“It is great to see that the passionate and committed individuals behind our local tourism businesses continue to strive for excellence and that this has been publicly acknowledged at the awards ceremony.”

Teamwork was the major contributing factor Cruise Whitsundays CEO Nick Hortle attributed to his company’s two gold awards – one for Best Major Tour and/or Transport Operator and the other for Unique Accommodation at the newly rejuvenated ‘Reefsleep’. Mr Hortle said Cruise Whitsundays had been through a significant time of change in the past two years.

“So for the judges to award us this honour is a huge achievement for our team and I want to thank every single staff member from the front line crew on the boats to the office-based staff, senior management and owners, for their commitment to ensuring Cruise Whitsundays is an industry leader,” he said.

“You often hear people saying it’s a team effort but in this case we’re absolutely convinced it’s only because of the enthusiasm of the staff at all levels of the business that we are the best large transport operator in the state.”


Cruise Whitsundays – Major Tour and/or Transport Operator – Gold, Unique Accommodation – Gold

True Blue Sailing – The Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism – Silver

Magnums Backpackers – Backpacker Accommodation – Silver

BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort – Tourist and Caravan Parks – Silver

Daydream Island Resort and Spa – Deluxe Accommodation – Silver

Airlie Day Spa – Health and Wellbeing Tourism – Silver, Specialised Tourism Services – Bronze

Whitsunday Jetski Tours – Adventure Tourism – Bronze

Whitsunday Maritime Training Centre – Tourism Education and Training – Bronze

Whitsunday Escape – Unique Accommodation – Bronze

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