It was an impressive night for the Bundaberg Region at the Queensland Tourism Industry Awards as five local facilities took home major accolades.
Bundaberg Rum, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, the Windmill Cafe Bargara, Lady Musgrave Experience and Hinkler Hall of Aviation were all featured award-winners on the night.
Bundaberg Rum won two gold awards in Tourist Attractions and Tourism, Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries, representing the third consecutive win for the Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience and earning recognition in the prestigious Hall of Fame.
It is the first time a distillery has been inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame and the first time an entrant has achieved this recognition for this category in eight years.
Bundaberg Rum Distillery marketing and experience manager Duncan Littler said he was incredibly proud to be a part of the team as they took out the double gold and achieved the Hall of Fame status in their home state of Queensland.
“Bundaberg Rum is all about the simple, good times, so it’s great to see our distillery recognised for providing just that to so many visitors,” Duncan said.
“Our consistent award wins year on year highlight the passion our team shares with guests every day, making the Bundaberg Rum Distillery a special place which visitors look forward to visiting and revisiting.
“We are really proud of our achievements, especially in the recent years, and we have exciting plans for the future, which will raise the bar yet again.
“As the world opens up, we look forward to welcoming more guests to experience everything Bundaberg Rum has to offer in our Queensland backyard.”
Following the Queensland Tourism Awards double gold win for 2021, Bundaberg Rum Distillery will now aspire to the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame early next year, having won gold at a national level for the last two years.
Local businesses shine in Queensland Tourism Awards
Operating for 35 years, the Queensland Tourism Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of the state's tourism industry, including individuals, businesses and events.
In this year's awards, the winners were:
- Hinkler Hall of Aviation – Bronze – Tourist Attraction category
- Bundaberg Rum Distillery- Gold – Tourist Attraction category
- Bundaberg Rum Distillery- Gold – Tourism, Wineries, Distilleries & Breweries category
- Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort – Gold – Steve Irwin Award for Ecotourism category
- Lady Musgrave Experience – Silver – Tour & Transport Operators category
- Windmill Cafe Bargara – Gold – Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services category
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey congratulated the local winners and said the awards celebrated the exceptional achievements of tourism operators, especially during challenging times.
“The secret is out, Bundaberg is the best place on earth to visit!” he said.
“Congratulations to Bundaberg Rum, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, the Windmill Cafe Bargara, Lady Musgrave Experience and Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
“Their awards are much-deserved recognition for the incredible tourism product we have in the Bundaberg Region and it's just the tip of the iceberg for our amazing and growing tourism industry.
“It's been a challenging year with Covid restrictions and it's great to see the determination, excellence and resilience of local tourism operators rewarded.”
Hinkler Hall shares in award win
Mayor Dempsey said it was an incredible result for the Bundaberg tourism industry and the Council-owned Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
“It’s fantastic to see Bert Hinkler flying high again,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“The Hinkler Hall of Aviation is a terrific tribute to Bundaberg’s favourite son and provides an informative and, above all, enjoyable experience for young and old.
“To have HHA share a podium with an iconic brand like Bundaberg Rum – which is taking our region to the world – is certainly an honour.”
Mayor Dempsey said each of the region’s award winners should be proud.
“For six medals to be awarded to the Bundaberg Region, including four gold, at this competitive state level is phenomenal,” he said.
“We have incredible eco-accredited experiences like Lady Elliot Island Resort, which is consistently recognised at this level, and the new world-class Lady Musgrave HQ Sleep on the Reef Experience only just getting started – it’s clear our region is going to continue onwards and upwards.
“The team at the Windmill Cafe Bargara defended their title, proving that first-class tourism experiences can be found around every corner in the Bundaberg Region.”
The awards were presented at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre at a gala ceremony which saw more than 800 guests gather to celebrate the achievements of Queensland’s best tourism businesses.