The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards announced in Adelaide this week saw Tasmania come of age and put the other larger states to shame. Of a total of 85 awards handed out over the course of the evening Tassie picked up 16 with 9 Golds (more than any other State or Territory), 3 Silvers, 3 Bronzes and a Tourism Legend Award.
NSW pulled in a total of 17 awards (although only 3 Golds) while Queensland managed 16 (5 Golds, 2 Silvers and 9 Bronzes). The haul for the Far North was disappointing; Gold for Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, Silver for Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours and Bronzes for Mossman Gorge Centre, Cairns Convention Centre and Cairns Central YHA.
With Queensland’s share of both International and Domestic visitors sliding badly over the past few years (share of International visitors down to less than 34% from 43% eight years ago, and Domestic share down to less than 23% from almost 25% two years ago) there needs to be some fresh thinking at both Tourism Queensland and TTNQ. The old formula simply isn’t working in today’s 21st century market.
The Qantas awards highlighted three central themes of great food and wine, high-end accommodation and finally “the coast”. Far North Queensland can obviously hold its own when it comes to the third of these, but would appear to be falling badly behind when considering the other two themes. It’s perhaps telling that none of the Far North’s 5 winners really fall naturally into any of these categories. Other than the “lower end” caravan park and hostel sectors there were no FNQ winners in any of the accommodation or food categories.
Congratulations to the FNQ operators who did take out awards; let’s hope there’s many more of you next year. Full details of all the winners can be found here.