Tom Curtain entertains (and wins) tourism awards

The Katherine Outback Experience picked up a Brolga Award.
The Katherine Outback Experience picked up a Brolga Award.

Curtin Springs were the big winners at the 2017 Brolga Awards taking out several categories including Tourist Attraction, Hosted Accommodation and the Chairman’s Choice for Outstanding Tourism Excellence.

Owner Peter Severin was awarded the Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy (also known as The Big Bird). 

Tom Curtain’s Katherine Outback Experience won the Department Trade Business & Innovation Business Growth Award.

Nitmiluk Tours won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tourism and Cicada Lodge took out the Luxury Accommodation award.

“Nitmiluk Tours had the great honour of winning in two categories of the NT Tourism Brolga Awards on Saturday night, in the Luxury Accommodation category and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism category.,” Nitmiluk Tours CEO Jane Runyu said.

“Both awards are a testament to the hard work of the Nitmiluk team, the support of the Jawoyn people and the support of the local Katherine tourism industry.

“They are an acknowledgment of the growing interest in Indigenous tourism and the significant role we play in the development of that sector in the Northern Territory.

“As a 100% Indigenous owned operation, Nitmiluk Tours is providing a future for Indigenous youth in this area and is ensuring the sustainably of the Jawoyn culture for future generations.”

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss, said: “Tourism is a key economic driver for the Territory, providing employment, directly or indirectly, to more than 17,000 people - 12 per cent of the NT’s workforce.

“The passion shown by our tourism operators is a wonderful reflection of our incredible attractions, tours, unique experiences and culture in the NT. I congratulate all of tonight’s winners and wish you luck as you progress to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards next year.”

A total of 19 businesses and three individuals were winners at the 31st Brolga Awards which recognise tourism excellence.

The world-heritage listed Kakadu National Park won the Brolga for best Major Tourist Attraction for the second year running as did World Expeditions for best Ecotourism business and Darwin Convention Centre for the Business Event Venues Award. Managed by global venue specialists AEG Ogden this architecturally stunning facility boasts multi-purpose and flexible event spaces.

Venture North Australia, a business that operates small charters and an ecotourism and fishing camp on the Cobourg Peninsula won the Cultural Tourism Award for the 8th consecutive year. Head Guide David McMahon was also awarded the Skal Darwin Employee Award. 

Uluru Camel Tours won the Adventure Tourism category and owner Chris Hill won the George Dunne Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.

Uluru Chinese Tours, the largest dedicated Chinese touring company in the NT were awarded the Specialised Tourism Services Award.  Delivering tours in both Mandarin and Cantonese they also operate Uluru Wedding Photography Tours.

Guests at the gala ceremony were entertained by local acts Apakatjah and Wolfpack Amadeus with Tom Curtin from Katherine Outback Experience performing his new single Territory Time.

Business category winners will now represent the Northern Territory at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards with winners announced in Perth in February 2018.

Winners were:

Major Tourist Attraction – Kakadu National Park

Tourist Attractions – Curtin Springs

Festivals & Events – Uluru Camel Cup

Ecotourism – World Expeditions

Cultural Tourism – Venture North Australia

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism – Nitmiluk Tours

Specialised Tourism Services – Ayers Rock Uluru Chinese Touring

Visitor Information Services – Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre

Business Events Venue – Darwin Convention Centre

Major Tour &/or Transport Operator – AAT Kings Northern Territory

Tour and Transport Operator – Outback Elite Tours

Adventure Tourism – Uluru  Camel Tours

Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services – AAT Kings Uluru BBQ Dinner

Caravan Parks – Big4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park

Hosted Accommodation – Curtin Springs

Self-Contained Accommodation – Darwin Waterfront Luxury Suites

Standard Accommodation – Palms City Resort

Deluxe Accommodation – Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters

Luxury Accommodation – Cicada Lodge

New Tourism Development – Royal Flying Doctor Service Darwin Tourist Facility

Excellence in Food Tourism – Crazy Acres

Chairman’s Choice for Tourism Excellence – Curtin Springs

Skal International Darwin Tourism Employee Award – David McMahon – Venture North

George Dunne Award Outstanding Contribution by an Individual – Chris Hill – Uluru Camel Tours

First Time Entrant – Wetland Cruises

Department Trade Business & Innovation Business Growth Award – Katherine Outback Experience

Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy – Peter Severin