Businesses celebrate big wins at Fraser Coast Tourism Awards
A CELEBRATION of the Fraser Coast's best tourism operators has seen four businesses inducted into the Hall of Fame and 21 businesses walk away with a win.
More than 300 people gathered at Hervey Bay RSL for the 2012 Fraser Coast Tourism Awards, including Minister for Tourism Jann Stuckey and Great South East presenter Sofie Formica.
Happy Wanderer Village snagged Best Tourism Business, one of the biggest awards of the night.
Owner Chris Reeves said he knew the park had a chance in the Best Tourist Park category, which it also took out, but it had been a complete surprise to win one of the major awards.
"It is a great pat on the back," he said.
"We'll hang that up (the awards) with a lot of pride."
Mr Reeves said the annual awards recognised the huge amount of work and hours tourism operators put in.
He said there was an optimistic outlook among the Fraser Coast tourism industry after a tough few years.
"It is starting to turn around," he said.
The other major award winner of the night was Blue Dolphin Marine Tours owner Peter Lynch, who won the John Craig Gardiner Memorial Award for his long term commitment to whale conservation and the Fraser Coast tourism industry.
Equathon, Aqauvue Cafe, Alexander Lakeside Bed and Breakfast and Emeraldene Inn and Eco Lodge were all inducted in the Hall of Fame in their respective categories.
Coast restaurant owner Julia Paussa won Young Tourism Achiever of the Year.
For Kingfisher Bay Resort Group general manager David Hay, their win across two categories was a proud moment.
He said the resort hoped to repeat its success at the state tourism awards next month.
The 2012 Fraser Coast Tourism Award winners are:
· General Tourism Services: Quintessential Fraser Coast - Hervey Bay Airport & Fraser Island Visitor Information Centre
· Best Website: Emeraldene Inn & Eco Lodge
· Tourism Retailing: Quintessential Fraser Coast - Hervey Bay Airport & Fraser Island Visitor Information Centre
· Restaurants: Wild Lotus Bar & Restaurant
· Licensed Hotels: Bayswater Hotel
· Registered Clubs: Hervey Bay RSL & Services Memorial Club Inc.
· Conference and Meeting Services: Kingfisher Bay Resort and Village
· Regional Festivals and Special Events: 2XU Hervey Bay Triathlon & Multisports Festival
· Environmental Tourism: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort
· Tour Operators: Hervey Bay Whale Watch
· Adventure Tourism: Aquavue Café Watersports
· Transport Operators: Fraser Island Barges
· Whale Encounters Operator: Blue Dolphin Marine Tours
· Tourist and Caravan Parks: Happy Wanderer Village
· Hosted Accommodation: Villa Cavour Bed & Breakfast
· Budget Accommodation: Kingfisher Court
· Unique Accommodation: Eco Queenslander
· Deluxe Accommodation: McNevins Motel Maryborough
· Luxury Accommodation: Akama Resort
· Young Tourism Achiever of the Year: Julia Paussa
· Chairman's Encouragement Award: Sanctuary Lakes Fauna Retreat
· Best Tourism Business: Happy Wanderer Village
· John Craig-Gardiner Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual: Peter Lynch