Josef Chromy takes top award at 2017 Tasmanian Tourism Award

CHAMPION: Josef Chromy OAM has been named the Tasmanian Tourism Champion at this year's Tasmanian Tourism Awards, held Friday night.
CHAMPION: Josef Chromy OAM has been named the Tasmanian Tourism Champion at this year's Tasmanian Tourism Awards, held Friday night.

Tasmanian industry titan Josef Chromy OAM has received the highest individual honour at Friday night’s Tasmanian Tourism Awards.

The wine pioneer was named the Tasmanian Tourism Champion in recognition of his contribution to the state’s tourism industry and ongoing investment in accommodation.

Josef Chromy Wines was also the gold medal winner for the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category. 

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO, Luke Martin, said it was only a matter of time before Mr Chromy’s name was added to the honour role of Tasmanian tourism legends. 

“Joe’s impact on the wine industry in Tasmania is nothing short of remarkable,” Mr Martin said.

“Throughout the 90s he purchased, cultivated and on-sold vineyards throughout the Tamar Valley that are now home to some of Tasmania’s most celebrated labels.

“His signature wine label and wine centre at Breadalbane is among the finest wineries in Australia and has established a truly iconic wine experience on the doorstep to Launceston.

“Joe’s impact on the tourism industry in Launceston is unrivalled.”

Mr Martin said the Chromy family played a vital role in boosting confidence in the regions tourism industry following the Global Financial Crisis.

He said their redevelopment of the old Launceston General Hospital in 2009 came at a time when no one was investing in new hotels in Australia.

“He did it again with the redevelopment of Penny Royal, reinvigorating another sore point on the Launceston landscape into a quality hospitality and tourism precinct,” Mr Martin said.

“Now his vision for the Gorge Hotel is to establish in Launceston one of the finest hotels in Australia, and do justice to Cataract Gorge as the jewel in the crown of Northern Tasmania.”

Born in Czechoslovakia, Mr Chromy fled his worn-torn home town in 1950 when he was just 19-years-old following more than a decade of Nazi and Soviet occupation. 

Immigrating to Australia, he would spend the next 40 year establishing his business Blue Ribbon Meat Products before starting his investment in the Tasmanian wine industry. 

Friday night’s awards recognised some of the state’s best-known tourism experiences, along with a wave of new and emerging operators.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were presented across 25 categories. 

Tasmania’s gold medalists will now be judged against winners from other states and territories, culminating at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in February. 

Tasmanian Tourism gold medal category winners

  • Major Tourist Attraction: Port Arthur Historic Site
  • Tourist Attraction West Coast: Wilderness Railway
  • Major Festivals and Events: Salamanca Market
  • Festivals and Events: The Unconformity
  • Ecotourism: Tasmanian Walking Company
  • Cultural Tourism: Port Arthur Historic Site
  • Specialised Tourism Services: RiverFly 1864
  • Visitor Information Services: Wonders of Wynyard Exhibition and Visitor Information Centre
  • Business Event Venues: Wrest Point
  • Tour and Transport Operators: The Maria Island Walk
  • Adventure Tourism: Roaring 40s Kayaking
  • Destination Marketing: Flinders Island Tourism and Business
  • Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services: Altitude Restaurant + Lounge Bar
  • Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries: Josef Chromy
  • Caravan and Holiday Parks: Port Arthur Holiday Park
  • Hosted Accommodation: Alexandria Bed and Breakfast
  • Unique Accommodation: Pumphouse Point
  • Self-Contained Accommodation: Avalon Coastal Retreat
  • Standard Accommodation: Hobart Hideaway Pods
  • Deluxe Accommodation: The Henry Jones Art Hotel
  • Luxury Accommodation: Saffire Freycinet
  • Gustav’s Award for Best New Tourism Business: MACq 01 Hotel
  • Excellence in Food Tourism: Coal River Farm
  • Tasmanian Champion for Outstanding Contribution by an individual to the Tasmanian tourism industry: Josef Chromy 
  • Tourism Minister’s Young Achiever: Tom Wootton