The Cairns Convention Centre and long-serving tourism industry leaders Stephen Gregg and James Dixon were awarded for their contribution to tourism excellence at the Intrust Super Tourism Industry Excellence Cocktail Event last night.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chair Max Shepherd presented the Tropical North Queensland Tourism Honours before about 350 people at a tropical extravaganza at the Cairns Cruise Liner Terminal featuring themed live food stations by Masterchef guest chef Nick Holloway of Nu Nu Restaurant.
Former Deputy Chair James Dixon was made a Tourism Tropical North Queensland Life Member for his strong commitment to the region as a national board member for the Australian Tourism Export Council and during his 10 years as a director of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, including eight years as Deputy Chairman.
“Working in the tourism industry in Cairns since 1987, James is highly active in marketing Tropical North Queensland through his role as joint Managing Director of successful tour operator, Down Under Tours,” Mr Shepherd said.
“James is highly regarded by the tourism industry throughout Australia and recognition through life membership of Tourism Tropical North Queensland is well deserved and well supported.”
The Outstanding Contribution by an Individual went to former Chair Stephen Gregg who made his acceptance speech via video.
Stephen’s extensive career in the tourism industry has seen him in CEO roles in Tourism Queensland, Macquarie Leisure Operations and North Queensland Airports, and board positions including Queensland Tourism Industry Council, Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre and Queensland Rail.
Prior to his recent retirement he was Chair of Tourism Events Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland.
“Stephen’s experience, passion for the tourism industry and drive saw him stand out as a leader within the Australian, Queensland and Tropical North Queensland industries,” Mr Shepherd said.
“This region will benefit from his involvement and guidance for many years to come.”
The Chair’s Award for Excellence went to the Cairns Convention Centre for their strong activity in bringing business to Tropical North Queensland and for achieving ongoing excellence.
Mr Shepherd said the Cairns Convention Centre was recognised internationally, having won multiple awards and being voted the World’s Best Congress Centre on two occasions.
“The centre continues to put the spotlight on Cairns by enabling the city to host world-class events such as the G20 Finance Ministers and World Bank Governors meeting, the Pacific Island Forum and the Australian Tourism Exchange 2014,” he said.
“The Cairns Convention Centre is central to the business events success for Cairns. Their strong marketing of the centre and the region, and delivery of world leading events ensures Cairns benefits from this high value tourism sector.”
Mr Shepherd told the audience they all needed to celebrate their achievements across the past year and congratulate themselves, because the business growth of the past year did not just happen.
“Yes, the fall in the value of the Australian dollar did help, but we would not be where we are without the persistence of TTNQ members in the marketplace during the hard times and in meeting the expectations of our guests at all times,” he said.
“It has been a team effort, a team that includes Cairns Airport Ltd, Cairns Regional Council, Tourism Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, and on the ground, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, our members and local tourism organisations.”
TTNQ CEO Alex de Waal congratulated the Hall of Fame recipients whose businesses had won their chosen category at the former Tropical North Queensland Tourism Awards for three consecutive years. They are:
- Cairns Amateurs for Major Festivals & Events
- Kuranda Visitor Information Centre for Visitor Services & Information
- Cairns Central YHA for Backpacker Accommodation
- Villa Marine for Standard Accommodation
- TAFE North Queensland Tourism Studies for Education & Training
The Intrust Super Tourism Industry Excellence Cocktail Event also celebrated the 30 entries from 26 TTNQ members in the Queensland Tourism Awards.
Mr de Waal expressed a sincere vote of appreciation to the Tourism Award Submission mentors who invested a huge amount of their personal time in reviewing the award submissions and provided one-on-one mentoring for members.