2018 Townsville North Queensland Tourism and Events Award Winners

Townsville North Queensland tourism businesses, events and identities were tonight recognised as leaders in their industry at the 2018 Townsville North Queensland Tourism and Events Awards, with Johnathan Thurston awarded the highly esteemed Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.

The gala evening, sponsored by Townsville Airport, was held at Allure Events on Palmer Street, Townsville, attended by over 120 local tourism industry, business and political representatives.

Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan said the Townsville North Queensland Tourism and Events Awards not only recognise outstanding local businesses and people but also celebrate the industry’s contribution to the region.

“The Townsville North Queensland tourism and events industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the future landscape of our region, ensuring it is not only a great destination to visit, but also a wonderful place to live,” said Ms O’Callaghan.

“As a region, we are entering an exciting period, with the support of our local tourism and events industry key to the success of major developments like the Museum of Underwater Art and new Stadium.

“We received a record 26 nominations this year, all at a very high standard, which made it an incredibly tough process for our judges.

“The dedication and passion local operators have to our tourism industry does not go unnoticed and they a true credit to Townsville North Queensland.”

The highly esteemed Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual recognises the extraordinary personal and professional achievement and contribution by an individual over many years to the local tourism and events industry.

This year’s Richard Power Award recipient, Johnathan Thurston said it’s an honour to receive the award.

“I’d like to acknowledge Townsville Enterprise, fellow award recipients and those working hard to make a difference for our local tourism industry,” said Mr Thurston.

“I arrived in Townsville in 2004 to play my first season with the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys in 2005. I didn’t just begin a life in Cowboys colours, but also life as a proud Townsville resident and passionate advocate for our city and region.

“As a player for the Cowboys I have grown to know the North Queensland community as welcoming. I’m proud to call Townsville home – it’s where Sam and I have decided to raise our daughters Frankie, Charlie and Lillie.

“Throughout my professional career, I’ve travelled enough to know that our tourism offering and lifestyle is something to be celebrated.

“I feel privileged to have been involved in projects to attract support for our region and I’m really looking forward to future opportunities for our great city.”

Ms O’Callaghan said that the judges considered the activities and contribution of the nominee outside the expectations of normal employment.

“The national and international attention Johnathan has brought to our region over his 14 years in Townsville cannot go unnoticed”, said Ms O’Callaghan.

“His advocacy for the new North Queensland Stadium and his family’s role as ambassadors for the #morethanastadium campaign, lobbying to secure government funding towards a new stadium, was instrumental.

“At every opportunity Johnathan positively promotes our destination as an ideal place to visit, live and work, which is an incredibly valuable asset to our region and generating visitation.”

Winners of the eight award categories are:

New Tourism Business – Raven Tours

Excellence in Customer Experience (Restaurants & Cafes) – JAM

Excellence in Customer Experience (Accommodation) - Grand Hotel and Apartments Townsville

Excellence in Customer Experience (Tours & Attractions) - Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive & Tour Townsville (tied)

Major Festivals and Events (over 50,000 attendees) – Watpac Townsville 400

Festivals and Events (under 50,000 attendees) - Deadly Didge N Dance Festival

Young Achiever Award: Alison Crook (Fantasea Cruising Magnetic)

Richard Power Award – Johnathan Thurston

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"What a night for @Paronella Park! Fourth award of the evening at #QTA18! Congratulations! https://t.co/mzqaOZFCKA"

10:02 PM Nov 16th @TSVEnterprise