Emporium Hotel's Murray Rowbotham with the award for Best Luxury Accommodation
Emporium Hotel’s Murray Rowbotham with the award for Best Luxury Accommodation

Winners of the 2012 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards have been presented with their gongs at a star-studded event in Hobart.

Leading the way in the accommodation categories was Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel, winning Best Luxury Accommodation in Australia.

“Emporium Hotel Brisbane has won applause and admiration from visitors all over the globe, as well as a manetlepiece full of awards, however being recognised for our hospitality approach and named as the best luxury accommodation provider in Australia is what we strive to achieve,” said Emporium Hotel General Manager, Peter Savoff.

“The award is testament to the faith, commitment and inspiration provided more than five years ago from owner and developer Anthony John and his wife Francine.

“They created the concept of the Emporium Hotel, the design and they built the hotel from the ground up, in so creating an experience that has no equal.

“We are incredibly proud to hold this title; every staff member has won this accolade and we hold it proudly for Brisbane,” he said.

Other major awards won by accommodation properties included: Hamilton Island Conferences (Business Tourism); Sydney Harbour YHA (Backpacker Accommodation); Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat, QLD (Hosted Accommodation); Rocky Hills Retreat, TAS (Unique Accommodation); Narnu Farm, SA (Standard Accommodation); and Emaroo Port Hughes, SA (Deluxe Accommodation).

The Australian Tourism Awards are owned and managed by the National Tourism Alliance (NTA) on behalf of the Australian tourism industry and the NTA’s Chairman, John Hart, congratulated all finalists and winners.

“We recognise and applaud the many businesses who continue to demonstrate excellence in servicing the needs and exceeding the expectations of both domestic and international visitors – you are living examples of the finest of quality tourism experiences in Australia,” he said.

Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy also commended the finalists and category winners for their collective effort in delivering “world’s best” tourism experiences in Australia.

“Tourism is Australia’s largest services export industry and when combined with the domestic travel market contributes AUD$96 billion annually to the national economy,”McEvoy said.

“Currently we are seeing continued growth in both international and domestic tourism and maintaining our world class tourism offering, through consistent quality and the highest standards of service, is critical to the ensuring Australia’s ongoing desirability as a world class tourism destination.

“The products and services offered by the operators recognised in this year’s Tourism Awards are the frontline of the Australian tourism experience and are critical to delivering on our marketing promise of why there truly is nothing like Australia – I personally commend them for their outstanding efforts,” McEvoy said.

The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA) has offered its congratulations to the winners of the Australian Tourism Awards.

“Australian tourism businesses are constantly striving for excellence and that takes a great deal of time, money and hard work,” said AAoA CEO, Richard Munro.

“The Australian Tourism Awards recognise these efforts and the Accommodation Association congratulates those who were successful.”

Tasmania was the stand-out performer, winning five awards, while one of the State’s foremost entrepreneurs, Simon Currant was recognised with the award for outstanding contribution by an individual to the tourism industry.

With more than 30 years’ experience as a tourism visionary, developer, operator and consultant, Currant has played an integral role in shaping Tasmania’s tourism industry. Simon has been instrumental in the development of some of the island state’s most celebrated tourism experiences including Peppermint Bay and Hobart Cruises, Cradle Mountain Lodge, Franklin Manor, Strahan Village and Gordon River Cruises.

“It’s no secret that the business environment for tourism in Tasmania has been challenging, so the swag of honours the State received in the awards will be a tremendous boost,” Munro said.

“It is also fantastic to see Simon Currant receive a prestigious honour – he has been a leading light for Australian tourism for a number of years.”

Tasmania’s haul included eleven accolades, the most ever awarded to the state, with five gold, one silver and five bronze.

Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald said that last year Tasmania’s tourism sector had received a number of high profile national and international accolades and awards for the quality of its tourism offerings.

“Tasmania’s continued success at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards show that last year’s accolades were well-deserved and that the quality of our tourism continued to go from strength to strength,” Fitzgerald said.

“Right now, Tasmania is capturing the imagination of Australians and international visitors and enhancing its reputation as a diverse, must-see quality destination. Whether it’s to reconnect with nature or awaken the senses with a cultural twist or a luxury escape, I’m confident our visitors will return home after their Tasmanian holiday feeling revitalised and inspired.”