Photo: Vince Alongi

For what it’s worth, here are your winners, Australia.

ON FEBRUARY 26th, at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards 2009, 27 winners from a wide range of categories were announced. Organizing the awards is the National Tourism Alliance, a collective whose members number over 40,000 — 90% — of the country’s tourism operators.

Matador’s magic word of late — transparency — comes to mind when viewing the list of finalists and the winners. I was disappointed that the website doesn’t state how the finalists were chosen or with what criteria the winners were picked. For all I know, it’s whoever is putting up the most bucks. But maybe I’m just cynical.

Anyhoo, here are some of your winners:

Major Tourist AttractionMelbourne Aquarium, Victoria

Sharks, penguins, stingrays, sea turtles, seahorses, and more.

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Major Festivals and EventsTour Down Under, South Australia

The first stop on the world cycling calendar and the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere.

EcotourismBruny Island Cruises, Tasmania

A family run business in its 10th year of operation providing ecotours around Tasmania’s Bruny Island.

They have recently expanded operations to extend their touring area with Tasman Island Cruises.

Indigenous TourismBooderee National Park, New South Wales

Owned by the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community, Booderee means ‘bay of plenty’ or ‘plenty of fish’ in the Dhurga language.

Adventure TourismPassions of Paradise, Queensland

Sail from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef on a 25 foot catamaran, taking in scuba diving and snorkeling.

Backpacker AccommodationSydney Central YHA, New South Wales

89% rating on the YHA website. The Rocks location has 96% (just an FYI).

Unique AccommodationLongitude 131, Northern Territory

Private views of sunset and sunrise over Uluru — from your own bed with the flick of a blind-raising switch! 2-night packages start at a hair over $3000 (the good news is, you can save 15% if you add one or more extra nights).

Luxury AccommodationSkycity Darwin, Northern Territory

A 5-star International Hotel Casino with 117 rooms and over 503 slot machines.

Take note, the dress standards require ‘neat and tidy’ attire (and appropriate footwear) with an appropriate level of personal hygiene being adhered to at all times.

Sustainable TourismSkyrail Rainforest Cableway, Queensland

Spans 7.5 kms over and into Cairn’s World Heritage listed tropical rainforest.

Out of 31 winners and notable mentions, I noticed not one organization was from Western Australia. I knew there was a reason I wanted to go there.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Do these awards mean anything to you? Are you more likely to visit a place or attraction as a result of this?

Share your thoughts below!