The Territory Labor Government recognises tourism is an absolute cornerstone of our economy.
Across the Territory it supports thousands of small and medium sized businesses and 16 300 direct and indirect jobs across a range of sectors including tourism, hospitality, retail, arts, culture and transport.
Acting Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nicole Manison said we know that tourism delivers a significant return on investment and that is why we investing a record $103 million turbocharging tourism stimulus package to attract more visitors, create local jobs and put more money into the pockets of Territorians.
A total of 26 businesses and three individuals were winners at the 2018 Brolga Awards which recognise tourism excellence.
Passionate ecotourism advocate Mr Rick Murray, founder of Odyssey Tours & Safaris and current owner of Middle Star tourism consultancy, has been awarded the highest honour at the 2018 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.
Mr Murray is a dedicated tourism advisor is well-known in the local tourism industry, having held roles on the Tourism NT advisory board, the Kakadu Tourism Consultative Committee and the Kakadu National Park Board of Management.
Acting Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nicole Manison said Mr Murray was a great advocate for regional tourism and Indigenous enterprise development having also worked as a Director for Nitmiluk Tours and joint-venture developments.
The Brolga Awards celebrate the hard work and dedication shown by our NT tourism operators and businesses over the past 12 months and create a standard in tourism merit for others to aspire to.
Winning a Brolga Award is Territory tourism’s highest possible accolade.
In the business categories, Nitmiluk National Park won the Brolga for best Major Tourist Attraction, while the 2017 Darwin Festival won in Major Festivals and Events.
Alice Springs upped the ante for their Top End counterparts, taking the gong for both Visitor Information Services, Alice Springs Visitor Information Centre, and Business Events Venue, Alice Springs Convention Centre.
Other highlights included Trek Larapinta winning best in Ecotourism and North Australia Yacht Support were awarded the Tony Clementson New Tourism Product.
In the NT categories, the Emerging Aboriginal Tourism Award went to Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience & Tour, the Visitor Experience Award went to Katherine Outback Experience, the Chairmans Choice for Tourism Excellence went to Venture North Australia, the Department Trade Business and Innovation Business Growth Award went to The Darwin History & Wartime Experience, and the First Time Entrant was awarded to both Uluru Segway Tours and Anglers Choice in a tie-breaker.
In the individual categories, the Skal International Tourism Employee Award went to Lisa Evans – Sales and Marketing Manager at Uluru Camel Tours, for delivering exceptional customer service, showcasing the Central Australian region to the world and sharing her knowledge and love of camels with all visitors. The George Dunne Award Outstanding Contribution by an Individual went to Ken Hart who has successfully developed a range of tourism businesses, including Northern Territory Adventure Tours.
The 21 business category winners will now represent the Northern Territory at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards with winners announced in March 2019.
Attachment: Full list of winners of the 2018 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards
As stated by Acting Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nicole Manison
Tourism is a key economic driver for the Territory, providing employment, directly or indirectly, to more than 16,000 people – 12 per cent of the NTs workforce.
Turbocharging Tourism is providing integral support to tourism operators and industry, and we continue to strive and craft new ways to showcase and attract visitors to the Territory.
The passion shown by our tourism operators is a wonderful reflection of our incredible attractions, tours, unique experiences and culture in the NT.
It is a privilege to bestow the 2018 Brolga Awards highest honour to Mr Murray who has been involved in nature based tourism for more than 30 years and continues to contribute and support the broader industry through various positions.
The Brolgas recognise all that is boundless possible about the Territory; our lifestyle, character, the spectacular natural beauty of one of the most incredible destinations on the planet and our diverse, multicultural community.
I congratulate all of tonight’s nominees and winners; it is fantastic to see your hard work, dedication and passion for the tourism industry rewarded.
Best of luck to the Territory winners as they progress to the national Qantas Australian Tourism Awards next year.