Individuals shine at Queensland Tourism Awards

A Cairns woman and a Brisbane couple have tonight been recognised for their individual contributions to Queensland’s $25 billion tourism industry as part of the 2017 Queensland Tourism Awards.

Individual Queensland Tourism Awards were presented to Wendy Morris of Cairns (The Marie Watson-Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual), and Giovanna and Paul Shakhovskoy of Brisbane (Young Achiever’s Award).

The Queensland Tourism Awards, now in their 33rd year, are hosted by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) and presented by Queensland Airports Limited in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland and supporting partner Tourism Australia.

A total of 83 awards across 28 categories, as well as the inaugural RACQ People’s Choice awards, were presented at Brisbane’s Convention and Exhibition Centre tonight where 900 guests gathered to celebrate the state’s tourism achievements. 

QTIC Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said Wendy Morris from Cairns was a deserving winner of the Marie Watson-Blake Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.

The award is named after Marie Watson-Blake OBE, who was a business leader in the tourism and travel industries in Queensland – well known in business and government, and for founding Jetset Travel.

“This award recognises the extraordinary personal and professional achievement and contribution by an individual over many years to the Australian, and particularly the Queensland tourism industry,” Mr Gschwind said.

“Wendy has been involved in the marketing and management of small and large tourism enterprises in North Queensland for 30 years.

“With science and business qualifications, she was a pioneer in the development of reef-based eco-tourism operations and has held senior executive positions in hotels and resorts, tours and attractions in Queensland, many of which were developed by the Morris family.

“From 2008 to 2016 she was closely involved in the realisation of the $380 million Mt Emerald Wind Farm – which is 50% owned by family company Port Bajool. Its construction began earlier this year.

“Wendy has been on the board of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and has recently succeeded Max Shepherd as Chair. She has also recently been appointed to the Board of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.”

Mr Gschwind also congratulated Giovanna and Paul Shakhovskoy – Brisbane siblings who received the Young Achiever’s Award.

The award aims to recognise an individual or couple, less than 32 years of age, for their work in the tourism industry, and their contribution the development of a vibrant and professional tourism industry.

“Giovanna and Paul Shakhovskoy inspire innovation among young tourism leaders through their two businesses Escape Hunt Brisbane and Directors of the Extraordinary,” Mr Gschwind said.

By combining story, gaming, theatre and technology, the Shakhovskoy siblings have a knack for bringing games to life.

“We believe the Shakhobskoy family have a bright future in the Queensland tourism industry,” Mr Gschwind said.

Queensland’s Gold business award winners from categories 1-25 gain automatic entry into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in Perth on 23 February 2018.