Townsville North Queensland tourism businesses, events and identities were tonight recognised as leaders in their industry at the 2019 Townsville North Queensland Tourism and Events Awards, with North Queensland EduTourism Chairman Ross McLennan awarded the highly esteemed Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.
The gala evening, sponsored by Townsville Airport, was held at Rydges Southbank on Palmer Street Townsville, attended by over 210 local tourism industry, business and political representatives.
Townsville Enterprise Director – Tourism & Events, Lisa Woolfe said the awards not only recognise outstanding local businesses and people but also celebrate the industry’s significant contribution to the region.
“The Townsville North Queensland tourism and events industry plays a pivotal role in shaping the future landscape of our region, supporting almost 7,000 jobs and contributing more than $1.2 billion to the regional economy,” said Ms Woolfe.
“As a region, we are entering an exciting period, with the support of our local tourism and events industry key to the success of key developments like the Museum of Underwater Art, new Stadium and the Tourism Marine Precinct, as well as supporting major events such as the 2021 ITU World Multisport Championships held in Townsville.
“This year we received a record 62 nominations across 10 categories, all at a very high standard, which made it an incredibly tough process for our judges.
“The dedication and passion local operators give to the tourism industry does not go unnoticed and they are a true credit to Townsville North Queensland.”
This year the expanded award categories also included the Travel Associates People’s Choice Award, giving the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite North Queensland experience.
Ms Woolfe said Townsville Enterprise introduced this category to acknowledge the importance of the visitor experience and how it ultimately underpins the local tourism industry.
“We received 1700 votes from the public through the ‘Visit, Townsville North Queensland’ Facebook page with SeaLink Queensland taking out the inaugural award in what was a very close competition.”
The highly esteemed Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual, won by Ross McLennan, recognises the extraordinary personal and professional achievement and contribution by an individual over many years to the local tourism and events industry.
Townsville Enterprise CEO, Patricia O’Callaghan said Mr McLennan was a stand out nominee after his many years dedicated to growing the region’s tourism industry.
“Ross has been working in the tourism industry for three decades, across Australia and the world, but chose to return to Townsville to continue to diversify and grow his family’s tourism offering in North Queensland,” said Ms O’Callaghan.
“His parents were trail blazers in the tourism industry and Ross has continued that legacy, building not only the business but importantly the entire industry, particularly through his strong leadership and promotion of our region’s biodiversity and unique natural assets of rainforest and reef on our doorstep.
“Ross has always been a strong voice for the tourism industry and is an incredibly valuable asset to our region and generating visitation.
“Ross’ advocacy for building the educational tourism market in North Queensland over the past seven years has been instrumental in the success of growing this now highly sought-after program for international students.
“Under his leadership, the Townsville North Queensland EduTourism Program is now recognised as a global leader in study abroad teaching and learning for the international education market which injects over $1.7M annually into our local economy.”
Winners of the 11 award categories are:
New Tourism Business
Winner: Aquascene Magnetic Island
Silver: SeaLink Cape Cleveland Tours
Bronze: North Queensland Tours
Excellence in Customer Experience - Hotel and Resort Accommodation
Winner: The Ville Resort-Casino
Silver: Grand Hotel Townsville
Bronze: Gilberton Outback Retreat
Excellence in Customer Experience - Motels, Caravan Parks, and Bed and Breakfasts
Winner: Secura Magnetic Gateway
Silver: Banjo Patterson Motor Inn
Bronze: Secura The Lakes
Excellence in Customer Experience - Tours and Attractions
Winner: Aquascene Magnetic Island
Silver: Big Mama and Raven Tours (Tie)
Excellence in Customer Experience – Restaurants
Winner: A Touch of Salt
Silver: Miss Songs Asian Kitchen
Bronze: The Pier
Excellence in Customer Experience - Pubs, Clubs and Casual Dining
Winner: Cowboys Leagues Club
Silver: Grill’d Healthy Burgers
Major Festivals and Events
Winner: Watpac Townsville 400
Festivals and Events
Winner: Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Silver: SeaLink Magnetic Island Race Week
Bronze: Townsville Running Festival and Townsville Triathlon and Multisport Festival (tie)
Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual
Winner: Ross McLennan (Chairman - North Queensland EduTourism Consortium, Owner/Operator– Hidden Valley Cabins)
Young Achiever Award
Winner: Alicia Masters (Owner/Operator – NQ Tours)
Travel Associates People's Choice Award
Winner: SeaLink Queensland