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Award-winning Cradle Mountain

21 November 2011 No Comment

Cradle Mountain sunriseThe night started out with Jansz in the Birdcage Bar at Wrest Point. ‘Black tie’ was the dress code. The whole building looked resplendent with its newly-adorned Christmas decorations winking at us. There was a red carpet! On Friday night, I felt oh-so-exclusive, and very honoured, to be present at the 2011 Tourism Industry Council Tasmania Awards.

Every year in November the TICT conducts these awards to recognise and reward outstanding businesses in every aspect of the tourism industry from every corner of the state. Adventure tourism, food and wine, the arts, festivals, and everything in-between is represented in one way or another.

Submissions are written months in advance, and a great deal of work and attention-to-detail is given to ensure that the event itself goes off without a hitch, and that the recipients of the awards are well-deserved.

Yes, it was all very glamorous and terribly classy and it would have been very easy to take it lightly (what with the free wine and all!), but there was a serious side to all of this, a kind of elephant, or perhaps devil since we’re talking Tasmania, in the room, and I think it would be lax of me not to mention it: our industry is not in a great place at the moment.

It’s no secret that the Tasmanian tourism industry is not faring as well as it once was. Come to think of it, the Australian tourism industry in general is not as healthy as it once was! We can see this by the number of cheaper-than-is-comfortable deals on offer at the moment; by the decrease in visitors to our National Parks, by the lower-than-normal occupancy levels in our hotels.

There are myriad reasons and explanations for this, and just as many arguments to match them, both to the negative and the affirmative, but this is not the time and the place for politics – I want to use this opportunity to celebrate our industry!

I was so very proud to be representing my workplace and the Cradle Mountain area at the Tasmanian Tourism Awards. Anthony O’Hern, from Cradle Mountain Canyons, won the Minister’s Young Achiever Award, the Wilderness Gallery took home its fifth consecutive honour for Specialised Tourism Services, and Cradle Mountain Canyons, a tiny business offering the only canyoning experience in the state that is only just a year old, very nearly pipped the uber-exciting MONA to the Best New Tourism Development post! The margin was 3 points! Discovery Holiday Parks Cradle Mountain, Cradle Mountain Highlanders and the Wilderness Gallery were all nominated in separate awards categories.

What an outstanding list from such a tiny community!

You know what? Scratch ‘I was proud to be representing Cradle Mountain’. I was proud to be a member of the Tasmanian tourism community in general. I was in awe at the amount of talented, dedicated, and ridiculously hard-working Tasmanians that were present, and I consider myself very fortunate to be surrounded by, and to have the opportunity to work alongside, these people.

Yes, we’re experiencing a downturn. Yes, I’m a lucky girl to have the job that I have in the location that I have (I know I sound like a scratched record, but I feel the need to reiterate). But no, I have not lost faith in our state as a world-class destination, as a place for people to learn, and to relax, and to feel at home in. I firmly believe that Tasmania is just getting started!

The night ended with dancing, conversation, and, for me, inspiration.

Koby Blizzard is a born and bred Tasmanian who works and lives in the Cradle Mountain area. She loves all things Cradle and Tasmania and is just embarking on a writing career. This is her fifth piece about her exploits working at Cradle Mountain.
Image: Don Shearman  via Flickr

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