Katherine was the big winner from the NT’s annual tourism awards, The Brolgas, announced last night.
Nitmiluk National Park won the Brolga for best Major Tourist Attraction and Tom Curtain’s Katherine Outback Experience won the best visitor experience award.
Tourism supports thousands of small and medium sized businesses and 16,300 direct and indirect jobs across a range of sectors including tourism, hospitality, retail, arts, culture and transport.
A total of 26 businesses and three individuals were winners at the 2018 Brolga Awards which recognise tourism excellence.
Passionate ecotourism advocate Mr Rick Murray, founder of Odyssey Tours & Safaris and current owner of Middle Star tourism consultancy, has been awarded the highest honour at the 2018 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.
Mr Murray is a dedicated tourism advisor is well-known in the local tourism industry, having held roles on the Tourism NT advisory board, the Kakadu Tourism Consultative Committee and the Kakadu National Park Board of Management.
Acting Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nicole Manison said Mr Murray was a great advocate for regional tourism and Indigenous enterprise development having also worked as a Director for Nitmiluk Tours and joint-venture developments.
The Brolga Awards celebrate the hard work and dedication shown by our NT tourism operators and businesses over the past 12 months and create a standard in tourism merit for others to aspire to.
Winning a Brolga Award is Territory tourism's highest possible accolade.
In the business categories, Nitmiluk National Park won the Brolga for best Major Tourist Attraction, while the 2017 Darwin Festival won in Major Festivals and Events.
Alice Springs upped the ante for their Top End counterparts, taking the gong for both Visitor Information Services, Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre, and Business Events Venue, Alice Springs Convention Centre.
Other highlights included Trek Larapinta winning best in Ecotourism and North Australia Yacht Support were awarded the Tony Clementson New Tourism Product.
In the NT categories, the Emerging Aboriginal Tourism Award went to Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience & Tour, the Visitor Experience Award went to Katherine Outback Experience, the Chairman’s Choice for Tourism Excellence went to Venture North Australia, the Department Trade Business and Innovation Business Growth Award went to The Darwin History & Wartime Experience, and the First Time Entrant was awarded to both Uluru Segway Tours and Anglers Choice in a tie-breaker.
In the individual categories, the Skal International Tourism Employee Award went to Lisa Evans - Sales and Marketing Manager at Uluru Camel Tours, for delivering exceptional customer service, showcasing the Central Australian region to the world and sharing her knowledge and love of camels with all visitors. The George Dunne Award Outstanding Contribution by an Individual went to Ken Hart who has successfully developed a range of tourism businesses, including Northern Territory Adventure Tours.
The 21 business category winners will now represent the Northern Territory at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards with winners announced in March 2019.
Acting Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nicole Manison said 12 per cent of the NT’s workforce was involved with tourism.
“The passion shown by our tourism operators is a wonderful reflection of our incredible attractions, tours, unique experiences and culture in the NT.”
Other local awards were won by
Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tourism- Nitmiluk Tours & Cicada Lodge.
Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services – Nitmiluk Tours and Cicada Lodge.
Luxury Accommodation – Cicada Lodge
Major Tourist Attraction – Nitmiluk National Park
Nitmiluk National Park is a nationally recognised park rich in Jawoyn culture, featuring a timeless landscape of outstanding natural features. The park, owned by the Jawoyn people, is a key economic driver at the local and regional level and is managed collaboratively with Parks, Wildlife and Heritage.
Tourist Attractions – Katherine Outback Experience
Katherine Outback Experience is the fusion of one man’s love and aptitude for training animals, singing / song writing, and sharing stories about life in outback Australia. The outback show comprises authentic horse-starting and working dog demonstrations, humorous bush-tales and live music to entertain and educate guests about the Territory’s rich pastoral history.
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