Tasmania is kicking “well above its weight”, according to Australian Tourism Awards chairman Daniel Gschwind.
Mr Gschwind visited Launceston’s Cataract Gorge on Friday, as plans for the 2018 Australian Tourism Awards begin to take shape.
The Gorge will provide the backdrop for national tourism industry’s premier event on March 1, with about 800 of the industry’s key stakeholders expected to attend.
The Launceston event will mark only the second time in the award’s history that the ceremony has been held outside of a capital city.
Mr Gschwind said Tasmania had emerged as one of Australia’s leading tourism “champions”.
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“This is a very exciting event and a very exciting opportunity for Tasmania,” he said.
“Tourism is all about what makes a place different, but it’s also about understanding modern hospitality and celebrating new experiences.
“Visitors don’t just want to see a place, they want an emotional experience and something they can take home with them.
“Tasmania has emerged as a real champion of all of these qualities, so it is very fitting that we have the awards here.”
The awards will be held at the First Basin, with a temporary marquee to be installed over the Cataract Gorge Pool.
Event director Rick Marton said the Gorge was always considered an ideal location to host the awards.
“Our hearts always told us we had to hold the event at the Gorge, but our heads needed us to consider some other possibilities for a while,” he said.
“But no matter what we considered, we just kept coming back to the Gorge.
“The view just doesn’t get any better and we might only have one shot at an event like this, so we need to be putting our best foot forward.
“This really is the Olympics of the Australian tourism industry.”
Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said the event marked a significant collaboration between the state’s leading tourism bodies.
“This is a massive opportunity and something we need to really embrace,” he said.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase our city to people with incredible influence within the tourism industry.”