The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers has been named the winner in the Major Festivals and Events category at the  2017 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on Friday 23 February.

Held at Perth’s new Optus Stadium, more than 700 tourism industry representatives celebrated the awards, which showcase the best in outstanding customer service, innovation and ongoing business excellence.

Aside from the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, there were several notable wins for Queensland tourism operators. In the Major Tour and Transport Operators category, Ocean Rafting won gold, and the Grand Hotels and Apartments Townsville took home gold in the Standard Accommodation category.

Australian Tourism Awards Chair Daniel Gschwind said the calibre of finalists in this year’s awards was exceptional.

“Tonight, we celebrate leading businesses whose hard work, innovation and commitment to quality continue help to drive our industry as a leading contributor to jobs and economic growth across Australia,” Mr Gschwind said.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said the awards were a great showcase of the skill within the industry.

“These prestigious awards provide a wonderful opportunity to shine the spotlight on Australia’s tourism industry and those operators and businesses who make such an important contribution to the record level of growth that our industry is currently enjoying,” Minister Ciobo said.

Among the 26 winners was Paul Hogan, awarded the status of Australian Tourism Legend in recognition for his role in attracting international visitors to Australia, most notably in the North American market. The Come and Say G’Day campaign, fronted by Hogan, opened Australia to a broader international audience and the line “I’ll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you” being immortalised in tourism folklore.

“I’d also like to recognise Paul Hogan who has done so much for our industry and so richly deserves the tourism legend award bestowed upon him.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect either, with the recent launch of Tourism Australia’s “Dundee” campaign drawing so much inspiration from the iconic film in which he starred,” Minister Ciobo said.

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