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Sunday 26 February 2017

Tasmania sweeps the board at national tourism awards

Tasmania just gets more and more desirable as a travel destination. So much so that when I landed at Hobart Airport on Saturday there were not enough berths for all the aircraft.

The Apple Isle still has its issues; a couple from the Central Coast recently told me how amazed they were that it was almost impossible to find dinner in tourist country towns after 7.30pm, and a South African game ranger told me that "Tasmania is where they cut down all the trees".

Overall, however, Tasmania continues to boom - collecting five golds at the weekend's Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. Not only that, Tasmania collected seven silver, two bronze and The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

What’s more, Tassie, the smallest state, picked up the most awards out of every state. Such is Tasmania’s allure that Roy Morgan Research has just delivered hard evidence. Hobart now outranks Perth and Brisbane as a capital city holiday destination Australians want to visit.

Tourism Tasmania’s CEO John Fitzgerald said: "Tasmania has had another fantastic year for tourism and our popularity shows no signs of letting up as a record number of Australian and overseas visitors discover the people, the produce, the places, the stories and the experiences that make Tasmania such an exciting travel destination.

“I am really excited that we could back up our last two award-winning years with another outstanding performance at this year’s Australian Tourism Awards. It reconfirms the quality of Tasmania’s tourism and hospitality businesses and the amazing holiday experiences they provide for our visitors - the kind of experiences that our visitors keep returning for and talk about with their friends and family members long afterwards.”

The Three Capes Track is a new "must-do" experience and won the award for new tourism business on the national stage. The four-day Tasman Peninsula walk features dolerite chasms, architecturally-designed lodging, eucalypt forests and towering sea cliffs.

The Tasmanian Walking Company took a familiar trek to the podium, collecting gold for ecotourism. Walking in some of Tasmania’s most iconic locations, they add more than a touch of class to the experience with the Cradle Mountain Huts Walk, Bay of Fires Lodge Walk (and spa) and, more recently, the Wineglass Bay Sail Walk.

The luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet was awarded gold for luxury accommodation, while the Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel also won gold for business event venue, entering into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame.

The other Tasmanian winner was RiverFly 1864, which won gold for specialised tourism services for its three-day guided fly fishing trips up at the Western Lakes in private eco-friendly huts.

Other Tassie medalists were:

Silver: Tourist Attractions: Bruny Island Cruises;
Major Tour and Transport Operators: Par Avion Wilderness Tours; Unique Accommodation: Pumphouse Point; Self-Contained Accommodation: Avalon Coastal Retreat; Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services: Josef Chromy Wines; Deluxe Accommodation: The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel and Destination Marketing: Great Eastern Drive.

Bronze: Major Tourist Attractions: Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service - Freycinet National Park; Hosted Accommodation: Curringa Farm Accommodation.

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