HERVEY BAY’s long list of tourism accolades continues to grow, receiving two travel industry awards in the past week.
Hervey Bay was named as the seventh most popular spot in the country in the Wotif 2021 Aussie Town of the Year Awards, while WetSide Water Park was voted number one in the Wotif Top 10 Amusement Parks and Water Parks in Australia.
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said he was thrilled Hervey Bay was included in the top 10 destinations in the Aussie Town of the Year Award.
“Just to be nominated is recognition of the hard work and dedication of those involved in the tourism industry, as well as residents who go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome,” Cr Seymour said.
He said the exposure generated by the award would help the local tourism industry rebuild in the wake of COVID-19.
Cr Seymour told reporters at WetSide Water Park that it was about time Hervey Bay was recognised as one of the big players on the tourism landscape.
He said the return of Jetstar to the skies over Hervey Bay was proof the local tourism industry was gaining momentum – especially after COVID-19.
“People in Sydney who would normally be travelling to Bali on Jetstar will now be travelling to Hervey Bay on Jetstar,” he said.
Jetstar announced yesterday that direct flights between Sydney and Hervey Bay will take off in May.
“We are seeing Hervey Bay emerge as one of the premier spots in Australia. It is one of only two destinations in Queensland to make the top 10,” Cr Seymour said.
“This puts us on a national scale. We are number seven in Australia, and we are going to be better next year. We are going up because of places like WetSide – places for children, places for adults and teenagers. We have one of the best skate parks in Australia right on the Esplanade and we have the best whale watching in the world.”
Now in its fourth year, the annual Aussie tourism awards recognise some of the country’s best destinations.
“It continues to be a privilege to announce the winners of these annual tourism awards but after the last twelve months, this year’s awards are more important than ever,” Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch said.
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The winning destinations were awarded based on their accommodation quality, affordability and traveller satisfaction.
New to this year, the awards also recognise destinations that have met the changing needs of travellers over the last twelve months by offering increased flexibility, good-value deals and appealing activities and attractions.
In addition, many of the winning towns have used the last 12 months to renew their offerings and re-emerge stronger as a result of the ongoing challenges.
“Based on our conversations with this year’s finalists, while all agree there is still a long way to go, with some areas reporting a up to a 90% profit loss during the height of the pandemic, it’s promising to see optimism is high,” Mr Finch said.
CEO of Fraser Coast Tourism and Events Martin Simons said being placed in the top 10 was a tremendous credit for local operators in the industry.
“This pristine, natural environment is the perfect place to reboot for a weekend, a week or a month after the journey we have all been on in 2020,” he said.
“There is room to spread out and connect with nature in a way that is impossible in the cities – and we are within easy driving reach of 70 percent of the state’s population.”
Mr Simons said the announcement did not come as a surprise.
“People were already voting with their feet.”
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Wotif 2021 Aussie Town of the Year Award winners:
1. Cairns, QLD
2. Pokolbin, NSW
3. Apollo Bay, VIC
4. Mudgee, NSW
5. Lakes Entrance, VIC
6. McLarenVale, SA
7. Hervey Bay, QLD
8. Exmouth, WA
9. Port Macquarie, NSW
10. The Entrance, NSW