The Australian Tourism Awards 2014 were held last night and Tasmanian entries won 10 of the 29 categories. More than any other state or territory in the country.
Congratulations to all the winners.
Tassie dominates national tourism awards
Tasmania won an astounding 10 categories out of 29 at the Australian Tourism Awards in Adelaide last night, more than any other state or territory and doubling its previous best result.
The unprecedented win was led by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, which took home four awards as well as founder Rob Pennicott being recognised as the 2014 Australian Tourism Legend.
For the first time in its history, the Port Arthur Historic Site was judged Australia’s best Major Tourist Attraction — ahead of Taronga Zoo and Dreamworld. Port Arthur also won the Heritage Tourism category for the first time, leading the charge for Tasmania to walk away with more gold medals than Queensland and NSW combined.
Hobart’s Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel won the Business Tourism category over some of Australia’s biggest convention centres.
Par Avion Wilderness Tours won the Major Tour and Transport Operators category for its “Day in the Wilderness Tours” deep into the heart of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Independent Launceston-based tourism training guru Rebecca King was recognised ahead of major Australian training organisations, winning the Education and Training category with her business, Kingthing Marketing.
An emotional Mr Pennicott said he was humbled by the awards and urged all operators to follow their dreams.
“There’s a new era in Tasmanian tourism, there’s so much happening. It’s bloody awesome,’’ he said.
He said he had dedicated his life to tourism and his family.
“I was lucky enough to win a couple. But to get this is double bloody huge,” he said of his individual honour.
Managing director Shannon Wells accepted the award for Par Avion and paid tribute to pilot Sam Langford, who died in a plane crash on December 29
“My pilots are aviators, they are tour guides, they cook the food they do everything,’’ Mr Well said.
“This one’s for you, Sam.’’
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said the results were testament to commitment to quality, innovation and excellence of Tasmania’s leading tourism operators.
“The Australian Tourism Awards are extremely competitive and serve as the barometer for how our leading operators perform against the very best in Australian tourism,” he said.
“These results show just how far we’ve come as an industry when you consider just five years ago we won only a single category.
“Our previous best result, in 2012 when we won five categories, left us thinking that was about as good as it can get for a small state — but Rob Pennicott matched that record all by himself.
“Last night’s result coming after Lonely Planet named Tasmania its fourth hottest destination in the world in 2015, adds legitimacy to our claim that the Tasmanian tourism industry is the leading tourism industry in Australia right now, and every bit world class.”
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ acclaimed Bruny Island Cruise was judged Australia’s best Regional Tourist Attraction, and won the award for best Eco-Tourism Business for the third consecutive year.
Rob Pennicott’s latest product, the Tasmanian Seafood Seduction tour, departing from the Hobart waterfront, was judged Australia’s best new tourism development for 2014.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys’ renowned commitment to conservation and sustainability practices was again recognised with the company winning the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
Mr Pennicott was also recognised by the national tourism industry, becoming only the second Tasmanian after Simon Currant in 2012 to be awarded the Australian tourism industry’s highest individual honour.
Along with the 10 gold medals, another six Tasmanian operators received medals in their category.