Queensland towns bid for tourism awards

Regional centres to receive national recognition.

Queensland’s top regional tourism towns will be recognised following the introduction of new awards this year.

The Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) has announced the Top Tourism Town Awards will acknowledge the state’s best regional destinations.

QTIC said the aim of the awards was to reward towns that offered “an amazing visitor experience, where tourism operators, businesses, and the local community work together to make their town the best destination”.

The Top Tourism Town Award will go to a town with a population above 5000 and the Small Tourism Town Award to one with a population below 5000.

QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said the awards were being introduced in each state and territory.

The jetty at Cardwell.

“Our towns support local businesses and local jobs, and keep our regional communities thriving,” Mr Gschwind said.

“The awards will provide an opportunity for us to showcase these towns as great visitor destinations in Queensland.

“With the COVID situation, this is actually a great time to draw attention to regional destinations and showcase our local communities to an Australian audience”.

State winners will have the opportunity to represent Queensland at the National Awards and be named Australia’s Top Tourism Town.

Nominations will be accepted through accredited Visitor Information Centres from 19 January, with submissions due by 30 March.

Cardwell, on the Bruce Highway 165km north of Townsville, will be among the towns nominated in the “below 5000” category.

The famous Cardwell crab sandwich.

Cardwell Tourism Officer for the Cassowary Coast Regional Council Thea Ormond is a proud local, confident the town could win the prize.

“There is some hot competition, but we are going to win,” Mrs Ormond said.

“It’s my hometown and it’s a beautiful place. We are the only place on the east coast where the highway meets the sea.

“We have beautiful views and it’s a great place to come and unwind.”

Mrs Ormond, who works at the Cardwell Visitor Information Centre, said the town was something of a hidden tourism gem with a lot of people who pass through unaware of what it has to offer.

“We’ve got the islands, you can go reef fishing and snorkeling, camping and hiking on Hinchinbrook Island or then up the back we have all the beautiful freshwater creeks you can explore, go hiking and mountain biking,” she said.

Attie Creek falls near Cardwell.

“We have had so many people, that have always driven through, stop and have a look and realise there is so much to do.

“It’s all about getting back to nature – people are wanting to get back to nature.”

Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said judges would face a tough task deciding on the award winners.

“With so many great tourist towns in Queensland, the judges will face some difficult choices,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“This is an excellent way of celebrating the resilience and effort that Queenslanders put into making their town a favourite destination.

“After a tough year with COVID, this initiative will help support jobs and showcase what makes Queensland great.” 

Contact RACQ Travel on 1300 888 449 to plan your north Queensland holiday