• Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC)
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16 /11/ 2015 Comments are Closed

The spotlight was on Victoria’s leading tourism businesses tonight at the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards’ gala ceremony hosted by Tim Campbell at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Now in their 31st year, the awards recognise excellence in the industry and assist in the ongoing quest for exceptional tourism and events offerings in Victoria. Winners across 33 categories were announced to great applause from over 900 industry guests.

For the first time in 2015, the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) managed the awards on behalf of the Victorian Government resulting in an event run by the industry, for the industry. In a show of quality and dedication from the industry, VTIC received 122 entries that included 10 recognising individuals.

Erin Joyce, Acting Chief Executive of VTIC and VEIC spoke passionately about the awards and Victoria’s $21 billion tourism industry as a whole. “To manage the 2015 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards is an absolute privilege for the Victoria Tourism Industry Council as we showcase and celebrate the high standard of business excellence across the state with a magnificent range of products and services represented”, she said.

A panel of independent judges determined the 2015 award winners and commented that the 2015 entries were of an exceptionally high calibre, with 77 entries receiving a score of 75% or more, automatically putting them into the finalist category. The popular RACV People’s Choice Awards received over 8,000 votes with Favourite Metropolitan Attraction awarded to the Melbourne Zoo and the Favourite Regional Attraction awarded to Sovereign Hill in Ballarat. 2015 also saw the introduction of a new category, Self Contained Accommodation which was claimed by Aquabelle Apartments in Rye.

Seven operators who have won Gold awards for three consecutive years were admitted into the Hall of Fame, a true honour for these industry leaders. They were:

  1. 2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival (for Major Festivals and Events)
  2. Leisure Options (for Specialised Tourism Services)
  3. Searoad Ferries (for Major Tour and Transport Operators)
  4. Enchanted Adventure Garden and Tree Surfing (for Adventure Tourism)
  5. Stillwater at Crittenden (for Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services)
  6. Crown College (for Tourism Education and Training)
  7. Space Hotel (for Backpacker Accommodation)

Kathryn Mackenzie, Executive Manager Tourism at the City of Greater Bendigo, was presented the award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual for her tireless work promoting the historic Goldfields town and surrounding villages.

The complete winners list is as follows:

RACV People’s Choice – Favourite Metro Attraction Experience

Gold:               Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne

 RACV People’s Choice – Favourite Regional Attraction Experience

Gold:               Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

Major Tourist Attractions sponsored by Visit Victoria

Gold:               Sovereign Hill, Ballarat

Silver:             Phillip Island Nature Parks, Phillip Island

Bronze:            Puffing Billy Railway, Belgrave

Finalist:           Melbourne Museum, Melbourne

Tourist Attractions sponsored by Town Square

Gold:               Kryal Castle, Ballarat

Major Festivals and Events sponsored by Public Transport Victoria

Gold:               2014 Melbourne Cup Carnival (Hall of Fame)

Silver:             Victorian Caravan, Camping & Touring Show, Melbourne

Bronze:            Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Festivals and Events sponsored by Prime 7

Gold:               Fun4Kids Festival, Warrnambool

Silver:             2014 Maryborough RACV Energy Breakthrough

Bronze:            Shepparton Festival

Finalist:           Grampians Grape Escape

Finalist:           2015 Alexandra Truck Ute and Rod Show

Ecotourism sponsored by Grand Ridge Brewery

Gold:               Peninsula Hot Springs, Fingal

Silver:             Eco-Logic Education & Environment Services, Aireys Inlet

 Cultural Tourism sponsored by Museum Victoria

Gold:               Bendigo Tramways, Bendigo

Silver:             Port of Echuca Discovery Centre, Echuca

Bronze:            Creswick Woollen Mill, Creswick

 Specialised Tourism Services sponsored by City of Melbourne

Gold:               Leisure Options (Hall of Fame), Melbourne

Silver:             Business Events Victoria, Melbourne

Visitor Information Services sponsored by Parks Victoria

Gold:               Phillip Island and Bass Coast Visitor Information Centre Network

Silver:              Sunbury Visitor Information Centre

Bronze:            Echuca Moama Visitor Information Centre

Finalist:          Greater Shepparton Visitor Centre

Business Event Venues sponsored by City of Melbourne

Gold:               Yarra Valley Estate, Dixons Creek


Major Tour and Transport Operators sponsored by Rochford

Gold:               Searoad Ferries, Queenscliff (Hall of Fame)

Silver:              AAT Kings, Melbourne

Bronze:            Microflite Helicopter Services, Moorabbin


Tour and Transport Operators sponsored by Destination Melbourne

Gold:               Global Ballooning Australia, Richmond

Silver:             Wildlife Coast Cruises, Cowes

Bronze:            Walk Melbourne Tours, Melbourne

Finalist:           Horseback Winery Tours, Main Ridge

Finalist:           Hidden Secrets Tours, Melbourne


Adventure Tourism sponsored by Chatterbox Marketing

Gold:               Enchanted Adventure Garden and Tree Surfing, Arthurs Seat

(Hall of Fame)

Silver:             Auswalk Walking Holidays, Victoria

Bronze:            Go Ride A Wave, Anglesea

Finalist:           Extreme Watersport, Rosebud

Destination Marketing sponsored by Webfirm

Gold:               Wine Food Farmgate, Mornington Peninsula

Silver:             Geelong Reinvented

Bronze:            Grampians Tourism

Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services sponsored by William Angliss Institute

Gold:               Stillwater at Crittenden, Dromana (Hall of Fame)

Silver:             Donovans Restaurant, St Kilda

Bronze:            The Woodhouse, Bendigo

Finalist:           Polperro, Mornington Peninsula

Finalist:           The Avoca, Avoc

Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries sponsored by Visit Victoria

Gold:               Pizzini Wines Cellar Door, Whitfield, King Valley

Silver:             Bright Brewery, Bright

Caravan and Holiday Parks sponsored by Victorian Caravan Parks Association

Gold:               Big4 Beacon Resort, Queenscliff

Silver:             RACV Cobram Resort, Cobram

Bronze:            BIG4 Riverside Swan Hill, Swan Hill

Hosted Accommodation

Gold:               Harmony Bed and Breakfast, Fingal

Unique Accommodation

Gold:               All Seasons Houseboats, Mildura

Silver:             Gisborne Peak Winery Eco-Cottages, Gisborne South

Self Contained Accommodation

Gold:               Aquabelle Apartments, Rye

Silver:             Isabella at Kyneton, Kyneton

Standard Accommodation

Gold:               Jetty Road Retreat, Gippsland

Silver:             Cave Hill Creek, Grampians

Bronze:            Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens, Melbourne

Deluxe Accommodation

Gold:               Quality Hotel Wangaratta Gateway, Wangaratta

Luxury Accommodation

Gold:               Drift House, Port Fairy

Silver:             RACV Torquay Resort, Torquay

New Tourism Business sponsored by Prime 7

Gold:               Y Water Discovery Centre, Yea

Silver:             Piper St Food Co, Kyneton

Bronze:            Holmesglen at Eildon – Rural Learning Centre & Conference Retreat, Eildon

Finalist:           twistED – science at play, Echuca Moama

Finalist:           Exceptional Phillip Island Area Tours, Phillip Island

Excellence in Food Tourism sponsored by Visit Victoria

Gold:               Green Olive at Red Hill, Red Hill

Silver:             Simply Tomatoes, Boort

Bronze:            Rich Glen Estate, Yarrawonga

Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism

Gold:               Yarra Valley Estate, Dixons Creek

Outstanding Contribution by an Individual (VIC) sponsored by Qantas

Gold:               Kathryn Mackenzie, Bendigo Tourism

Tourism Education and Training sponsored by VECCI

Gold:               Crown College, Melbourne (Hall of Fame)

Local Government Award for Tourism sponsored by VECCI

Gold:               Corangamite Shire Council, Great Ocean Road

Silver:              City of Melbourne – City Activation – International Aids Conference Cultural Program, Melbourne

Backpacker Accommodation sponsored by Yarra Trams

Gold:               Space Hotel, Richmond (Hall of Fame)

Silver:              Melbourne Central YHA

Young Achievers Award sponsored by Visit Victoria

Gold:               Matthew McDonald, Searoad Ferries, Queenscliff

Outstanding Contribution by Volunteers sponsored by Visit Victoria

Gold:               Melbourne Airport Customer Care Program, Tullamarine

The winners of categories 1 – 26 of the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards will go on to the national level Australian Tourism Awards with winners announced on Friday 5th February 2016 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Postcards will air an RACV Victorian Tourism Awards special on Channel 9 on Sunday 22nd November featuring a number of award winners including Hot Springs (Mornington Peninsula), Sovereign Hill (Ballarat), Puffing Billy (Belgrave), Enchanted Adventure Gardens & Tree Surfing (Arthurs Seat) and Pizzini Wines (Whitfield).

For more information about the RACV Victorian Tourism Awards visit www.victoriantourismawards.com.au.

# ENDS #

Get social with #RACVVTA

VTIC will re-post the best photos from the night to the @vticnews account so be sure to follow along and don’t forget to use the hashtag #RACVVTA

For interview and image requests please contact:

Bridget McKernan Hatching Communications

Tel: (03) 9836 2167 ext. 7 Mobile: 0499 987 786 Email: bridget@hchq.com.au


The RACV Victorian Tourism Awards represent an industry framework for peer recognition which fosters a culture for business development excellence and innovation. The Awards have assisted the Victorian Tourism Industry for over 30 years in striving for excellence. During this period, more than 3,000 businesses have entered the Awards and have benefited through thorough examination of their business practice, with many recognised as winners at a national level. The rules of entry and criteria for the 2015 RACV Victorian Tourism Awards are set by the National Tourism Alliance and adopted by all State and Territory award programs. Winners of categories 1 – 26 automatically enter the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards for competition.

Platinum naming rights sponsor, RACV is a motoring club and mutual organisation, providing services such as roadside assistance, vehicle, home and contents insurance, personal and car loans, driving instruction, tourism services and home security products.


About the Author


The peak body for Victoria's tourism and events industry, VTIC represents key industry associations and operators, with over 1400 members.

Media Manager:

Media enquiries: media@victorianchamber.com.au,

Samantha Nixon, Media and Communications Manager
03 8662 5156 / 0423 883 945

Ellana Katos, Media Advisor
03 8662 5205 / 0400 976 889

Bradley Green, Social Media and Communications Advisor
03 8662 5279 / 0419 754 743



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