It was a double celebration at the 30th Annual Queensland Tourism Awards Gala Ceremony on Friday night when Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort won the highly contested Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism and Managing Director Peter Gash was awarded the Marie Watson-Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.
Peter was visibly emotional when accepting the Marie Watson-Blake Award:
“If a bloke from the bush can win something like this, it says that every one of us can achieve what you want to achieve with your dreams. It comes down to people, each and every one of us believing in what we want to do and making it happen.”
Winning the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism will always hold a special place in Peter’s heart. Peter and Steve were good friends and Steve would often take his family to Lady Elliot Island for holidays.
A message from Peter Gash:
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort has been a finalist in the Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism for the past two years. To finally be honoured with the Gold really is a dream come true for all of us.
That we, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, have finally managed to achieve the Gold in this category, bearing Steve’s name, is the realisation of a long held dream for myself and I am personally extremely humbled by this outcome.
Steve was a truly remarkable Man, an Eco Warrior and Environmental Leader with extraordinary vision and passion for both our Wildlife and our Environment. His passion and enthusiasm were infectious. Steve brought great change to the world’s perception of protecting and preserving the Wildlife and the Environment. It’s unlikely we will ever see another individual quite like the amazing man Steve was.
I feel confident that he would be extremely proud of how Terri, Bindi, Robert and all his beloved Australia Zoo Crew continue to carry his legacy forward with such grace and commitment.
This award recognises many years of work, effort, dedication and persistence by our remarkable Team of passionate and committed people past and present who have been involved with us over the years on this journey.
This journey with our Lovely Lady (Lady Elliot Island) has taught me many lessons. I have grown more aware as time passes that we are all here on this Earth for a special purpose. We are not here to make a fortune, we are here to make a difference.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort enjoys that unique and exciting opportunity to allow families and people to come out for a holiday to enjoy and relax in an amazing natural environment and explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
Yet at the same time we have the privilege of being able to teach and educate on how we can coexist on the planet in the 21st century while minimising our footprint on this special environment to guarantee its future sustainability for generations to come.
This 30 year Awards Anniversary remarkably coincides with our entry into Tourism (Early Ecotourism) when my wife Julie and I commenced Bush Safari Tours in an old Ford Army Truck throughout the Brisbane Forest Park.
For us it has been an amazing and challenging journey and certainly a long way to where we now find ourselves as Custodians entrusted with the Stewardship of one of Australia’s most Iconic National Treasures, Lady Elliot Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Congratulations to all the winners and the amazing tourism operators and products in the Sunshine State! We are so proud to be part of Queensland's dynamic tourism industry and we appreciate your help and support to showcase our wonderful state to the world J
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Daniel Gschwind and the QTIC team and all the sponsors of the 30th Annual Queensland Tourism Awards. It was very exciting to be involved in the celebrations of 30 years of Tourism Excellence.