Alice Springs tourism operator Laurelle Halford (pictured) has taken out a Gold Award at the prestigious Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for her innovative audio guides.
She launched DIY Tourguide in 2009, after four years as a professional tour guide where she noticed that self-drive tourists were not getting a full experience or appreciation of the region.
The audio guides, which have been translated into Italian, French and Chinese, also include commentary by Outback characters. Tours include Alice Springs to Uluru, and The West MacDonnell Ranges. She has now been commissioned to produce guide for Top End destinations.
DIY Tourguide helps bring alive stories of the landscape and its people, and Director Laurelle Halford said she is thrilled that a tourism product using innovative technology has been recognised at a national level.
“Our unique smart phone application offers detailed, location-aware audio commentary that is triggered by GPS points over a distance of hundreds of kilometers to give self-drive tourists a new appreciation of the region as they travel,” says Ms Halford.
“We wanted to better entertain self-drive tourists and help them to interpret the Outback landscape, where they might otherwise see an empty, barren place.
“As locals living in remote Australia we know what the hidden stories are. We wanted to share them with our visitors, including those about early pioneers, Aboriginal culture, flora, fauna, history, geology, the best places to stop and much more.”
Other Gold winners in The Centre are the Uluru Meeting Place at Yulara and Lasseters Hotel in Alice Springs, according to a government media release.
The Uluru Meeting Place underwent a comprehensive redevelopment as part of a $38 million upgrade of the Ayers Rock Resort and now offers a ballroom, three breakout rooms and a number of other meeting spaces.
The upgrade has doubled the size of the facility to offer business tourism clients world-class meeting options in one of Australia’s most remote and iconic destinations, says the release.
Lasseters Hotel is also investing in our tourism industry, currently undergoing a $35 million development project.
Local bronze awards went to AAT Kings and Sails in the Desert at Yulara.
and Sails in the Desert at Yulara.