Queensland dominates national tourism awards

State maintains reputation as tourism hotspot.

Queensland has shone on Australia’s tourism stage by dominating the national industry awards.

Tourism operators from the Sunshine State took home 14 awards, including five gold, at the 2019 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Canberra.

The Gold Coast featured prominently among the winners, taking out gold awards for its Groundwater Country Music Festival in the Festival and Events category and the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centres (Business Event Venues).

Other gold award winners were Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience (Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries); Habitat Noosa (New Tourism Business); and the Whitsundays’ Red Cat Adventures (Major Tour and Tourism Operators).

red cat adventures

Red Cat Adventures also won a silver award in the Adventure Tourism category.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) Chief Executive and Australian Tourism Awards Chair Daniel Gschwind said the Queensland finalists reflected the high standard of the state’s tourism offerings.

“With such a competitive array of destinations across the country, it is reassuring to see Queensland operators excel at these national Awards time and time again and reinforce the state’s reputation as a must-see destination,” Mr Gschwind said.

He said despite a particularly challenging year for operators across the state – as a result of devastating bush fires and flooding – Queensland continued to show resilience and dedication by providing world-class offerings to visitors.

“I know that the tourism sector is experiencing some turbulence, but that makes it even more vital that we continue to celebrate the work of those who strive for excellence within our industry,” Mr Gschwind said.

“It is a great honour for our Queensland operators to be recognised at the Australian Tourism Awards and all of our finalists and winners should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

Groundwater Country Music Festival

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the awards provided a great opportunity to highlight the efforts of Queensland’s tourism operators. 

“It’s been a tough year for many tourism businesses across the state. That’s why it’s more important than ever before that we stick together, rally around our operators and recognise their resilience and outstanding achievements,” Ms Jones said.

“Tourism is a rapidly evolving industry and Queensland operators continue to go above and beyond to make this state a hotspot for remarkable experiences.”

Next year the Australian Tourism Awards will be held on the Sunshine Coast for the first time in the national awards’ history.

The Sunshine State continues to be a favourite holiday destination, attracting 25.7 million domestic  and 2.8 million international visitors in 2019.

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

The winners




Groundwater Country Music Festival (Festival and Events)

Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre (Business Event Venues)

Bundaberg Rum Visitor Experience (Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries)

Habitat Noosa (New Tourism Business)

Red Cat Adventures (Major Tour and Transport Operators)




Red Cat Adventures (Adventure Tourism)

Sarina Sugar Shed (Excellence in Food Tourism)

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort (Ecotourism)

Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut Village (Caravan and Holiday Parks)




Tasman Venture, Fraser Coast (Tour and Transport Operators)

Cobbold Gorge, Outback Queensland (Tourist Attractions)

Grand Hotel and Apartments Townsville (Standard Accommodation)

Rainforestation Nature Park – Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, Kuranda (Qantas Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism)

Small World Journeys, Cairns (Specialised Tourism Services)