It has been a big year for a little island. One moment Lonely Planet are announcing to the world that Tassie is one of the best regions to visit in 2015, and the next we’re taking home no less than 10 gold awards at the prestigious Qantas Australian Tourism Awards!
Not only are Tasmania’s stunning natural assets globally renowned, but now our tourism experiences have been recognised as some of the nation’s best. What’s more, one of the island’s own, Rob Pennicott was named Australian Tourism Legend.
Why are these tourism experiences shining? Because they are like nothing else in Australia. They are raw. They are real. And they play out in a wilderness playground built for them. Where else does the skipper leap off the boat, later surfacing with sea urchins and abalone for on-board dining? In fact, the Australian Tourism Legend himself might just be at the helm. Here, you can have a good yarn with a legend, fly deep into the South West and hear tales of other legends like Deny King or you can roll up to one of the country’s finest luxury resorts.
These winning experiences exemplify soft adventure and quality tourism product of which we’ve been raising the bar quietly for some time now. What appeals is the unexpected and how these experiences make a traveller feel.
Friendly guides who know every rock, tree, and frog call, rugged untouched landscapes, surprising weather and charismatic pilots blend seamlessly to form memorable adventures. What’s more with Tasmania’s size, you can travel deep into the furthest corner of the World Heritage Area on an isolated harbour and be back to enjoy awardwinning whisky by the fire before dinner.
We don’t like to boast, but we’re pretty proud of these folk who bring Tasmania to life for our visitors. These innovative tourism operators are the faces that tell the story, the passionate locals who want to share a piece of their home in an authentic, personal way. These are tangible, accessible experiences – the type that become holiday stories taken home and shared over wine. The characters, some weathered and others more refined are the people now humbly taking to the podium.
These aren’t just any old awards either. As the tourism industry’s premier awards program and most anticipated annual event, these awards carry considerable weight. The awards celebrate a host of products and experiences countrywide and are fiercely sought.
This is all great recognition but we’d really prefer it for you to come and judge for yourself!
“A light is currently shining on Tasmanian tourism as a record number of Australian and overseas visitors discover the surprising array of natural, heritage, cultural and gourmet experiences we have in such a compact holiday destination. With so many of this year’s Australian Tourism Award winners coming from Tasmania, it only confirms the quality of our operators and their ability to create and deliver uniquely Tasmanian holiday experiences that their guests will want to talk about long afterwards. I urge everyone to get down here as soon as they can, and find out for themselves why Lonely Planet ranked Tasmania as the fourth best region in the world to visit during 2015.” John Fitzgerald CEO Tourism Tasmania
Many of Tasmania’s award winners may be familiar. But as with any good operator, they don’t stagnate. Each have evolved, re-crafted and delivered new experiences; served up with a good dose of passion. News of Port Arthur Historic Site’s awards might signal a ‘been there’ destination but new experiences and stories can be found in the footprints inside the penitentiary’s cells, circled around the newly instated fountain and bravely on the late night paranormal tour.
As for Par Avion, this modest fleet have flown visitors to some of the most remote corners of Tasmania. Touching down on a gravel airstrip may not be the norm, nor is watching your pilot become your boat captain. It’s rare for a pilot to charmingly deliver knowledge through the headsets, then rev up the engine of a boat before serving hearty lunch in a rustic cabin. Next he’ll lead you up a hill with views across Bathurst Harbour – not a soul seen or a whisper to be heard. Just South West silence where time stands still. Versatile characters and far flung wilderness reaches are what Par Avion do best.
Rob Pennicott is a name synonymous with Tasmanian tourism success. But his unassuming beginnings, as a fisherman eagerly showing his coastline to an interested few, is testament to the underpinning fervour that elevates him to national acclaim today. He continues to deliver new and exciting product with his new Tasmanian Seafood Seduction tour collecting a gold medal alongside four other golds.
It is little wonder Pennicott was named Australian Tourism Legend. He’s eradicated feral cats from Tasman Island and hopped in a little yellow boat, venturing up the coast of Australia in the name of wiping out Polio. What’s more he’s committed to sustainability, conservation and humanitarian projects through the Pennicott Wilderness Journey’s Nature Conservation Fund. But you’ll still get a salty handshake and welcoming smile from the man when he’s on the boat.
Other gold medal takers included The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel, an ever-popular mainstay for the business traveller. As they pull out laptops in their rooms, few may know the fascinating history of the Woolstore’s roofing shape and its early working days. And speaking of people in business, Launceston-based Rebecca King, single-handedly came up trumps for her tourism education and training skills.
Being announced as a silver medalist is music to the ears of the ever-popular Falls Music and Arts Festival. Held annually in Marion Bay across three days, December 29 to January 1, the globally-recognised event includes top bands, DJs, artists and more. The Launceston Airport, located just 15 kilometres south of Launceston earned silver in the Specialised Tourism Services category while contemporary Avalon Coastal Retreat, overlooking Great Oyster Bay collected silver in the Deluxe Accommodation category.
Raising a glass to a bronze, James Boag’s Brewery is the ultimate beer lover’s experience. Tours, tastings, museum and a gift shop combine for a full beer fan’s adventure. Two Tasmanian accommodation options also took home bronze including Curringa Farm for Hosted Accommodation with a good dose of sheep shearing, and the stunning Saffire Freycinet on Tasmania’s East Coast claimed third place for Luxury Accommodation. We can’t help but quietly pump our collective fists in celebration of all these recent awards. They join other accolades including the world’s best whisky, the country’s best golf links course and award-winning food and wine, as well as Lonely Planet’s fourth best region in the world to visit in 2015. What’s more, you could be breathing this Tassie air in the same amount of time it takes many to make their morning commute. This is your personal invitation come down and judge for yourself!
For more information on Tasmania visit www.discovertasmania.com.au.
The winners are:
Australian Tourism Legend: Robert Pennicott
Q Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism: Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, Hall of Fame
New Tourism Development: Tasmanian Seafood Seduction
Major Tourism Attractions: Port Arthur Historic Site
Tourist Attractions: Bruny Island Cruises
Major Tour and/or Transport Operators: Par Avion Wilderness Tours
Heritage and Cultural Tourism: Port Arthur Historic Site
Ecotourism: Bruny Island Cruises, Hall of Fame
Business Tourism: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel
Tourism Education and Training: Kingthing Marketing
Major Festivals and Events: The Falls Music & Arts Festival
Deluxe Accommodation: Avalon Coastal Retreat
Specialised Tourism Services: Launceston Airport
Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries: James Boag’s Brewery
Hosted Accommodation: Curringa Farm
Luxury Accommodation: Saffire Freycinet
For the Multimedia News Release, including high resolution images and a brief on each of the winners use this link: http://ow.ly/Ln8yf
Travel to Tasmania
Travellers can fly to Tasmania on Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Qantas, Qantaslink, Tigerair, Sharp Airlines or Rex Airlines, or take the Spirit of Tasmania ferry from Port Melbourne (VIC) to Devonport (TAS).
Qantas Australian Tourism Awards
The Qantas Australian Tourism Awards are the tourism industry’s most prestigious awards event, respected for its commitment towards recognising and celebrating the Australian tourism operators that have demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement.