Tourism leaders key to bringing projects to life

Written by: Townsville Enterprise | November 30, 2018

Townsville North Queensland’s leading tourism businesses, events and identities have been recognised at the industry’s ‘night of nights’ – the 2018 Townsville North Queensland Tourism and Events Awards, with Johnathan Thurston awarded the highly esteemed Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual. The Awards not only recognise outstanding local businesses and people but also celebrate the industry’s contribution to the local economy. The tourism and events industry plays a pivotal role in shaping Townsville North Queensland’s future landscape, ensuring it is not only a great destination to visit, but also a wonderful place to live.

As a region, we are entering an exciting period, with the support of our local tourism and events sector key to the success of major developments like the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA), new North Queensland Stadium and a potential 6ha lagoon at the Strand. 

Tourism has become one of the major global economic forces. It now counts for more than 10% of the world´s annual GDP, with more than 1 billion people now travelling to visit destinations worldwide. Within the next five years, this number is expected to hit roughly 1.8 billion people.

Gone are the days where people are travelling to a destination simply to sightsee – travel has evolved and visitors are now seeking to be inspired. They look for business opportunities and seek new learnings while feeling revitalised. The possibility to tap into this growth industry is no longer exclusive to the traditional large tourism hot spots; Townsville North Queensland is perfectly positioned to capitalise on these changing trends. 

When used strategically, tourism can be one of the fundamental building blocks to drive positive developments. For our region, the key is to identify investments that contain duality – projects that drive tourism outcomes, but also contribute to our region’s liveability and community pride. 

An example of this would be the Museum of Underwater Art (MOUA). This concept was bought to Townsville by Dr Paul Marshall and Dr Adam Smith from Reef Ecologic three years ago and Townsville Enterprise could not be prouder to be a part of the team responsible for delivering the Southern Hemisphere first to our region. 

The significance of MOUA cannot be understated, this project is not just about statues placed in the ocean. We are working with the world’s best underwater art sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor, to create pieces that will bring to life Townsville’s global significance in marine science. The success of the project relies on our tourism industry embracing the opportunity and working with us to bring the MOUA story to life in each of their businesses. 

Townsville Enterprise received a record 26 nominations for the 2018 Tourism and Events Awards, all at an exceptionally high standard. The dedication and passion local operators have to our tourism industry does not go unnoticed and they are a true credit to Townsville North Queensland. 

This year’s Richard Power Award recipient, Johnathan Thurston, said it’s an honour to receive the award. 

“Throughout my professional career, I’ve travelled enough to know that our tourism offering and lifestyle is something to be celebrated,” Johnathan said.

“I feel privileged to have been involved in projects to attract support for our region and I’m really looking forward to future opportunities for our great city.”


Congratulations to all winners of the eight award categories:

• New Tourism Business – Raven Tours

• Customer Experience (Restaurants & Cafes) – JAM

• Customer Experience (Accommodation) – Grand Hotel and Apartments Townsville

• Customer Experience (Tours & Attractions) – Adrenalin Snorkel and Dive / Tour Townsville 

• Major Festivals and Events (over 50,000 attendees) – Watpac Townsville 400

• Festivals and Events (under 50,000 attendees) – Deadly Didge N Dance Festival

• Young Achiever Award: Alison Crook

• Richard Power Award – Johnathan Thurston

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