Hawthorn Football Club has made sporting history at the Tasmanian Tourism Awards.
Organisers believe it is the first time a national sporting club has won a tourism award.
The club took home the Major Festivals and Events Category at the state-based awards on Friday.
About 600 people attended the awards, with the North shining a light on the festival.
Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said the Hawks winning was a testament to the innovation and drive the club is putting into making their Launceston games a significant event in their own right.
“AFL in Launceston is a major drawcard for the region, and it’s great to see the Hawks being recognised for delivering genuine quality major events in regional Tasmania,” he said.
Mr Martin said he was rapt to see some big gun Launceston tourism icons winning their category.
“[This] means the region will be represented when the best of the best in Australian tourism descend on Launceston in March,” he said.
Peppers Silo Hotel won the prestigious Gustav Award for Best New Tourism Development.
“Everyone has been blown away by the quality and care that has gone into the creation of Peppers Silo Hotel and being judged the best new tourism development in Tasmania is a fitting legacy for Errol Stewart and his team,” Mr Martin said.
The Specialist Tourism Services Category was won by Launceston Airport, which Mr Martin said was one of the nation’s premier regional airports.
“[It’s] a true gateway to Tasmania with the sense of place hitting you in the face the moment you stop off your plane,” he said.
“They have genuinely embraced their role as brand ambassadors for the State, and its great to see them recognised in this way. All our guests from around the country arriving for the national awards in March will experience one of our local finalists the moment they step onto Tasmania.”
The Festival and Events category was taken out by food and wine event Festivale.
“It’s fantastic to see the north take out both events categories, given the current focus on building up events throughout the region,” Mr Martin said.
Flinders Island was also well-represented at the awards. Visit Flinders Island won the gold award in the destination marketing award and Tourism Minister’s Young Achiever award was given to Jo Youl.
“When it comes to local destination marketing and brand, Flinders is showing other communities across Tasmania how to do it right. They have a fantastic and effective local marketing campaign built around the island’s brand attributes of fresh produce, friendly people and a spectacular island environment,” Mr Martin said.
“Jo Youl has been a driver of that initiative, while developing her own business ventures on the island such as the Taste of Flinders Store and the Flinders Island Wharf. It’s great recognition for her and the island to be honoured before the whole industry like this.”
Category award winners will now go on to be finalists in the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards to be announced in Launceston in March.
The awards will be held at the Cataract Gorge.
Other Northern award winners:
Luxury Accommodation – Saffire Freycinet
Festival and Events – Junction Arts Festival
Specialised Tourism Services – RiverFly 1864
Adventure Tourism – Blue Derby Pods Ride
Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services – Stillwater Restaurant
Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries – Josef Chromy Wines
Caravan and Holiday Parks – Big4 Launceston Holiday Park
Deluxe Accommodation – Freycinet Lodge
Tourist Attraction – Seahorse World
Visitor Information Services – Great Western Tiers Visitor Centre
Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries – Moores Hill Estate
Excellence in Food Tourism – Josef Chromy Wines
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