Katherine and Neil Mergard with the tourism awards the LARC has won. Photo: Mike Knott lar1309a
Katherine and Neil Mergard with the tourism awards the LARC has won. Photo: Mike Knott lar1309a

Big success at tourism prize night

TOURISM operators in the Bundaberg region are celebrating after three businesses received accolades at the Queensland Southern Great Barrier Reef Tourism Business Awards on Saturday night.

Operators of the popular pink boat 1770 LARC Tours took out the major honours, winning the Tourism Champion Award.

The award recognised the business's efforts in tourism and business over an extended period and was chosen from the 14 winners on the night.

Owner Katherine Mergard said the company was ecstatic to have taken out the prize, as well as the visitor attraction award.

“We were up on stage with all the other finalists, who were of such good quality we were not confident we were going to win,” she said.

But the region's success was not confined to the Agnes Water area.

Manta Bargara Resort took out the category of best luxury accommodation for the third year running. This year marks the third time Manta has received the award, giving them entry into the Hall of Fame.

Manta Bargara Resort owner Meagan Shuttleworth said they were not expecting to receive the award again.

“This year there was a bit more competition because more and more operators are making submissions about the work they do,” she said.

Kelly's Beach Resort in Bargara also entered the Hall of Fame after winning the standard accommodation category for a third time in a row.

The hotel's customer service was also highlighted, with the business receiving the mystery guest award — judged on how well a customer was treated during a surprise stay.

“We thought we had Buckley's when we saw the list of nominees,” resort marketing manager Loni Hammond said.

“There are so many people out there doing a great job.”

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism chairman Greg Barnes said the success reflected the quality tourism operators in the region, and he hoped it would be noticed by airlines considering Bundaberg as a destination.



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