Tropical North Queensland last night (Friday, October 28) celebrated excellence and innovation by acknowledging the people and businesses at the forefront of tourism in the region.
About 200 people gathered for the TNQ Tourism Industry Excellence Celebration under the stars at the Pacific Hotel Rooftop Terrace.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chair Max Shepherd said the destination had enjoyed a successful year thanks to the hard work of the tourism industry and individuals wanting to achieve excellence.
"We congratulate these high achievers who have not only contributed to the businesses they represent, but brought enormous benefits to Tropical North Queensland."
Chairman's Award for Excellence – Cathay Pacific
Sponsored by Turner & Townsend Thinc, project managing the development of the Tradewinds Esplanade site.
Cathay Pacific made Cairns the airline's first port of call for its first flight to Australia in 1946, before beginning commercial services to Cairns in 1993 with two flights a week. Since then the airline has expanded its service and now operates four direct flights to Cairns from Hong Kong each week, bringing visitors from Asia and Europe. Cathay Pacific has provided a valuable service for not just the tourism industry but for agriculture, education, fishing and the broader business sector.
Life Members - Charles Woodward and Peter Blackburn.
Sponsored by TAFE Queensland North
CaPTA Group Chairman Charles Woodward has had a strong involvement with the tourism industry for more than 40 years since he founded Rainforestation. He has grown the family business into a multi-faceted enterprise that features attractions and tours in Kuranda, Cairns and Port Douglas. His leadership and advice has been long valued by TTNQ and the industry.
Peter Blackburn has been the general manger of four major resort hotels in Cairns over the past 25 years, most recently in a consultancy role as General Manager of Paradise Palms Resort and Country Club. Mr Blackburn has been active in hotel industry associations and is a past president of SKAL International in Cairns.
Outstanding Contribution by an Individual – Ken Chapman
Sponsored by James Cook University
Skyrail Rainforest Cableway Director Ken Chapman has a long and distinguished history of involvement in the tourism industry in Tropical North Queensland, Queensland and Australia. He has served as a director of the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, the Australian Tourism Commission and Tourism Tropical North Queensland. Mr Chapman continues to participate and volunteer his knowledge and experience to industry groups and meetings.
Award for Innovation Excellence in TNQ – Big 4 Atherton Woodlands Tourist Park
Sponsored by Cairns Regional Council
Recognising the opportunity to attract new business from the emerging mountain biking market on the Atherton Tablelands, Big 4 Atherton Woodlands Tourist Park developed a mountain bike wash down and service bay complete with pro tools and bike pumps and bio-degradable wash products, and launched a mountain bike loyalty card. This innovative approach has generated new and return visitation to both the region and to Woodlands.
Hemingways Brewery, a microbrewery, bar and restaurant at Port Douglas Reef Marina.
The CaPTA group of companies which has been meeting market change for 40 years.
Young Achiever Excellence Award – Ben Pratt
Sponsored by Host Plus Hospitality Super Fund
Mossman Gorge Centre General Manager Ben Pratt began his career with Voyages Indigenous Tourism at Kings Canyon in 2006 before moving to Ayers Rock Resort and Home Valley Station. He is a focused and forward-thinking manager and a keen and eloquent advocate for Indigenous tourism. He is a board member of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree.
Phil Warring, Phlipvids, producing promotional videos of our region using the latest technology including drones, virtual reality and 360.
Jasmine Portious, General Manager Castaways Resort and Spa, Mission Beach. Jasmine serves on the board of Mission Beach Tourism and the executive committee of the Cassowary Coast Economic Development Board.