Southern Stars Awards Shines a Light on Tourism

Businesses and individuals enhancing tourism in southern Tasmania have been recognised at Destination Southern Tasmania’s (DST) inaugural Southern Stars of Tourism Gala held at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery on Thursday 7 April. The event included five Star Awards showcasing innovation and commitment to excellence in the tourism industry.  Winners included Grandvewe Cheese, Hobart Hideaway Pods, Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Maria Stacey and Kara Tyrell.

“The Awards were designed to celebrate the southern Tasmanian tourism industry generally.  The southern region attracts 81% of all interstate and international visitors to Tasmania and it is important that we encourage the delivery of quality experiences to ensure visitor satisfaction to maintain our high levels of visitation and ensure long term growth,” said Melinda Anderson, CEO Destination Southern Tasmania.

“The Southern Stars of Tourism award categories provide an opportunity for individuals and businesses to highlight their innovative approaches to business and commitment to developing our regional industry amongst their peers.”

Over 50 nominations were received for the Southern Stars of Tourism across the five categories: Starlight (community individual), Rising Star (30 years and under, individual), Stardom (brand excellence), Nova (new business) and Bright Star (innovation).

Melinda Anderson said winners represented the diversity of experiences on offer in southern Tasmania including small and large and new and more established business.

Grandvewe Cheeses received the Bright Star Award. The Woodbridge business was recognised for its innovation in achieving a world-first by developing a Sheep Whey Distillery and producing Whey Vodka varieties and soon, Sheep Whey Gin, reducing Whey waste from 100% to 0% !

Hobart’s Hadley’s Orient Hotel was awarded the Stardom award for demonstrating that the guest experience offered at the hotel ties in strongly with southern Tasmania’s regional brand strengths of history and heritage, arts and culture, as well as food and beverage.

One of the region’s newest tourism accommodation providers, Hobart Hideaway Pods located in Kingston, received the Nova award for new business. It has strived to achieve environmentally sustainable design and practice in providing guest accommodation in a beautiful setting just a short drive from Hobart and southern Tasmania’s many attractions.

A key focus for the Southern Stars of Tourism Awards was to celebrate the commitment to community individuals make to build a sustainable tourism industry in local areas.

“The Starlight Award recognised individuals who go above and beyond to support tourism in their local community,” said Melinda Anderson.

“Tasman’s Maria Stacey is a deserved winner of this award. She was selected for her extensive history in generously giving of her time, expertise, enthusiasm and dedication to a wide variety of worthy community causes over a long period of time. Currently as well as serving on Tasman Council, Maria is on the committees of over a half-dozen local organisations and events which, as well as providing a service for the local community, add value to the experience of visitors to the region.”

“We are also delighted to recognise our young leaders through the Southern Stars program.  Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre Team Leader, Kara Tyrrell received the Rising Star Award In the few years since joining the Travel Centre, Kara has advanced to a leadership position; taking every opportunity to increase her knowledge of tourism products, providing exceptional customer service and being a role model for her peers.

The Southern Stars of Tourism Gala also included a presentation from The Hon. Elise Archer, MP, Speaker of the House of Assembly to the recent winners from the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards from the southern region.

“Winning a national award is significant for these businesses.  However, they do not get to celebrate this success with their peers so it was important to include recognition of these achievements at the Southern Stars of Tourism,” said Melinda Anderson.

The Southern Stars of Tourism program brings together the southern tourism industry to inspire the region to work together to ensure the development and delivery of quality tourism experiences as we strive towards the State Government’s target of 1.5 million visitors by 2020 said Melinda Anderson.  The program will continue on an annual basis.

Summary of the Southern Stars of Tourism Winners:

Starlight – recognises those individuals who go above and beyond to support tourism in their community

Winner – Maria Stacey
Commendation – Alex Green

Stardom – Showcasing brand excellence through great customer experiences and testimonials

Winner – Hadley’s Orient Hotel
Commendation – Waterfalls Café

Bright Star – Highlighting those applying an innovative approach to their tourism business

Winner – Grandvewe Cheeses
Commendation – Essentially Tas

Rising Star – Recognising younger members of the industry who are breathing new life into tourism

Winner – Kara Tyrell, Tasmanian Travel and Information Centre
Commendation – Nathan Wills, Ida Bay Railway

Nova – Highlighting a new business or service that enhances visitors’ experience in the region

Winner – Hobart Hideaway Pods
Commendation – Heritage Horse Drawn Carriages