24 November 2012
By RICHARD BRUINSMA
AUSTRALIA Zoo has again proved itself to be among the state’s top attractions, by being named winner of the Major Tourist Attractions category at the Queensland Tourism Awards 2012 overnight.
The Sunshine Coast featured heavily among the award recipients, announced at a gala function at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Garth Prowd, the man behind USM Events, which organises events like the Noosa and Mooloolaba Triathions, received the Marie Watson-Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution to the tourism industry by an individual.
Noosa Visitor Information Centre was named winner in the Visitor Information and Services category, while the Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, of Montville, won the Hosted Accommodation category.
The local recipients were recognised from among a pool of more than 200 entrants.
Daniel Gschwind, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s chief executive, said 2012 had been a tough year for many tourism operators, but overall the feeling at the awards was one of success and pride.
"I was inspired by how many businesses entered the awards this year, and I believe it represents the spirit and resilience that embodies the tourism industry in Queensland," Mr Gschwind said.
"Some of the entrants lost a full year of income as a result of the natural disasters in 2011, but have bounced back and come back even stronger and more passionate than before."
Other local finalists were Noosa Dreamboats, Equathon, The Boathouse Floating Restaurant, The Long Apron Restaurant (Spicers Clovelly Estate), Bli Bli House Luxury Bed and Breakfast, Maroochy River Resort and Bungalows, Spicers Tamarind Retreat, Spicers Clovelly Estate, Oceans Mooloolaba, and Spa Anise Spicers Tamarind Retreat.