Lady Elliot Island looking towards QLD Tourism Awards
The Central Queensland jewel that is Lady Elliot Island is counting down the days until the relaunched Queensland Tourism Awards celebrate the strength and resilience of the industry.
The awards come after the Queensland tourism industry suffered arguably the toughest year on record, with international borders and resorts closed due to the COVID pandemic.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort managing director Peter Gash said the return of the Queensland Tourism Awards provided the ideal platform to come together to celebrate a path to recovery and reflect on the challenges overcome.
"Crikey, as all would agree COVID-19 has been challenging to say the least; our operations fall in both the aviation and tourism space which were hit hard and still recovering," he said.
"Our Team have been overwhelmed with the support and encouragement from the Australian travellers - we are now seeing record forward bookings and occupancy right through until late 2021.
"Entering the Queensland Tourism Awards is a fantastic way to make you address and analyse your business to better understand how you can improve operations.
"Our team are always striving to improve in any way that we can, and the awards are a fantastic platform for us to analyse and refine what we do.
"It's also a fantastic opportunity to mix with our fellow tourism operators once a year and come together in celebration of all of our efforts."
Twenty nine categories encompass the Queensland Tourism Awards including Major Festivals and Events, Cultural Tourism and Adventure Tourism, with nominations closing on May 21.
The awards will be presented at a black-tie gala ceremony on November 12.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) chief executive Daniel Gschwind said tourism remains a driving force for regional economies and communities across Queensland, accounting for one in nine Queensland jobs, and nearly one in six jobs in Far North Queensland.
He said the return of the Queensland Tourism Awards offered tourism operators a chance to come together to celebrate a path to recovery and reflect on the challenges they had overcome.
"Tourism remains a driving force for regional economies and communities across Queensland,
accounting for one in nine Queensland jobs, and nearly one in six jobs in Far North Queensland," Mr Gschwind said.
"The return of the Queensland Tourism Awards signals a significant milestone in confidence for tourism - albeit in the domestic forefront for now - and provides the opportunity to support and re-energise the industry and unify with those who are working hard to rebuild the sector.
"One positive legacy of the COVID-crisis for tourism has been a very effective and agile partnership between industry and government."
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said there was no doubt the global pandemic had been tough for tourism businesses.
"These awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise hard work, innovation and a focus on
delivering world-class visitor experiences," Mr Hinchliffe said.
"What's been impressive is the number of operators and regions who have remained positive and developed new tourism experiences and marketing to domestic visitors."
Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills encouraged tourism operators to enter in this year's awards to share their achievements with the rest of Queensland and help highlight the industry's resilience.
"We have weathered an extremely challenging 12 months and now we are seeing the beginning of recovery," Mr Mills said.
"There has been considerable resilience and innovation shown during this time, and the awards provide an opportunity for operators to reflect on this and recognise their achievements."