The spotlight was on Victoria’s leading tourism businesses tonight at the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards’ gala ceremony hosted by Tim Campbell at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Now in their 31st year, the awards recognise excellence in the industry and assist in the ongoing quest for exceptional tourism and events offerings in Victoria. Winners across 33 categories were announced to great applause from over 900 industry guests.
For the first time in 2015, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) managed the awards on behalf of the Victorian Government resulting in an event run by the industry, for the industry. In a show of quality and dedication from the industry, VTIC received 122 entries that included 10 recognising individuals.
Erin Joyce, Acting Chief Executive of VTIC and VEIC spoke passionately about the awards and Victoria’s $21 billion tourism industry as a whole. “To manage the 2015 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards is an absolute privilege for the Victoria Tourism Industry Council as we showcase and celebrate the high standard of business excellence across the state with a magnificent range of products and services represented”, she said.
A panel of independent judges determined the 2015 award winners and commented that the 2015 entries were of an exceptionally high calibre, with 77 entries receiving a score of 75% or more, automatically putting them into the finalist category. The popular RACV People’s Choice Awards received over 8,000 votes with Favourite Metropolitan Attraction awarded to the Melbourne Zoo and the Favourite Regional Attraction awarded to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. 2015 also saw the introduction of a new category, Self Contained Accommodation which was claimed by Aquabelle Apartments in Rye.
Seven operators who have won Gold awards for three consecutive years were admitted into the Hall of Fame, a true honour for these industry leaders. They were:
- 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival (for Major Festivals and Events)
- Leisure Options (for Specialised Tourism Services)
- Searoad Ferries (for Major Tour and Transport Operators)
- Enchanted Adventure Garden and Tree Surfing (for Adventure Tourism)
- Stillwater at Crittenden (for Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services)
- Crown College (for Tourism Education and Training)
- Space Hotel (for Backpacker Accommodation)
Kathryn Mackenzie, Executive Manager Tourism at the City of Greater Bendigo, was presented the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual for her tireless work promoting the historic Goldfields town and surrounding villages.