Tourism Awards honour

Sunshine Coast performs on the big stage

There’s no bigger honour than being recognised in the Australian Tourism Awards. In fact, it is a true honour to even be in the running for an Australian Tourism Award, because nominees have to be State winners just to gain entry.

Last weekend, the Irwin family from Australia Zoo were honoured with the coveted Australian Tourism Legend Award, while Novotel Twin Waters Resort took out a bronze medal in the intensely competitive Business Events Venue category.

The Novotel’s new Convention Centre, which opens in May, will fittingly host the Queensland Tourism Awards later this year, which could well see them in the running once again for gold in both the next State and National awards.

Recognition at major awards always provides a great fillip for the tourism sector. Accommodation providers such as Bli Bli House, The Falls Montville, Narrows Escape, Oaks Oasis Resort in Caloundra and RACV Noosa Resort have been consistent award winners over the years and this pursuit of excellence is – not surprisingly – often reflected in the high praise they receive across travel social media sites.

In fact, earlier this year, The Falls was named the ‘most romantic hotel destination’ in Australia in TripAdvisor's 2019 Travellers Choice awards, while Bli Bli House Riverside Retreat took out the top spot in the Best Small Hotel category.

Just as the Irwins’ Australia Zoo has helped put the Sunshine Coast on the tourism map, so do many of our smaller operators – year in, year out.

To read reviews about the exceptional and authentic service tells you a lot as to why these operators continually win acclaim.

I might be biased, but I think that Sunshine Coast operators have a special talent for this. Probably, living in such an inspirational destination helps, but while visitors may initially come for physical attractions such as a beautiful beach or a lush, tropical rainforest setting, they return because they have had a memorable experience.

And this almost always comes down to service and the personal approach they receive during their holiday.

This even applies to large venues like Australia Zoo. The Irwins have made it a completely different experience to most other zoos, and their personality and direct input can be seen everywhere.

A day at Australia Zoo reflects their commitment to conservation and wildlife research, while the personality that made Steve Irwin a household name in Australia and around the world resonates strongly through the ongoing contribution of Terri, Bindi and Robert to the cause.

Not every tourism business on the Sunshine Coast can attract 800,000 visitors annually, but what is common to all our award winners is the passion and drive. Long may it continue.