Central Australian tourism businesses have taken out several category wins in the 25th annual Brolga Tourism Awards, announced in Alice Springs last night.
First time entrant Alice Springs Airport won the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
Two other first timers won in their category: Alice Springs YHA for Backpacker Accommodation; and Rapid Ascent, organisers of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro for Festival and Events.
In contrast to these newcomers, MacDonnell Range Holiday Park took out the Tourist and Caravan Parks category for the 20th time in 25 years.
Ian and Lyn Conway, owners of King’s Creek Station, received the Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy, which recognises long term personal and professional commitment and dedication. King’s Creek Station welcomes almost 300,000 visitors a year.
But Shadow Minister for Central Australia, Matt Conlan, says the Brolgas “failed to mask the cracks that have developed in the Centre’s tourism industry over the past decade.
“The industry in Central Australia has been in decline for years and now some tourism operators say they could hit the wall if there isn’t a significant short term improvement.”
He says nothing better illustrates the government’s “incompetence” than the recent airlines crisis.
“Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy was virtually silent for weeks when Tiger Airways was suspended from flying and totally addled by the Qantas shutdown.”
Other winners from the Centre were:
• Alice Springs School of the Air for Tourist Attractions;
• Lasseters Casino for Deluxe Accommodation;
• DIY Tour Guide, Laurelle Halford’s creation, for Specialised Tourism Services;
• Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge for Unique Accommodation;
• Nyinkka Nyunyu Art & Culture Centre in Tennant Creek for Indigenous Tourism.
Tattersalls Finke Desert Race was highly commended in the Festivals and Events category.
And four local businesses received encouragement awards:
• Haven Backpacker Resort for Backpacker Accommodation;
• Alice Springs Convention Centre for Meetings and Business Tourism;
• Wayoutback Desert Safaris in the Tour and/or Transport Operator category; and,
• Longhorn Bikes for a New Tourism Development.
Business category winners of a Brolga automatically become finalists in the 2011 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Pictured: Entrance to the Alice Springs Airport, showing recently installed public art work.
Source: NT Government media release.