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It's official: Coast destination named state's best in Top Tourism Towns awards

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A Sunshine Coast town has beaten some heavy hitters to be crowned Queensland’s top tourism destination.

After an extensive judging process and public voting campaign, Caloundra was named the 2023 Queensland Top Tourism Town at an awards ceremony on Friday.

Caloundra’s key attractions including the natural wonders of the Pumicestone Passage and nearby Glass House Mountains, local eateries such as White Picket Fence and action-packed activities including Oceanview Helicopters grabbed the judges’ attention.

Caloundra Chamber CEO Brady Sullivan said the town had been a loved holiday destination for countless generations and thanked the Sunshine Coast community for getting behind the “playground by the sea”.

“Being named Queensland’s Top Tourism Town is a huge drawcard for Caloundra,” he said.

“It gives a boost to the Sunshine Coast tourism industry and helps attract investment to our region.

“The award represents the feeling of the generations that have been coming here for years and showcases all Caloundra has to offer.”

The beachside town has plenty of attractions.

A total of 20,000 votes were received for the seven shortlisted finalists including Bowen, Bundaberg, Redcliffe, Rockhampton, Tamborine Mountain and Townsville. But with a plethora of attractions, Caloundra took out gold.

“Caloundra can be a relaxed holiday by the water or a fun-filled family holiday,” Mr Sullivan said.

Related story: In the running to be state’s top tourism town

Presented by the Queensland Tourism Industry Council, the annual awards recognise outstanding regional destinations, honouring communities that demonstrate a commitment to visitor excellence.

Caloundra will now go on to represent Queensland at the national awards held later in the year, where the town has the chance to be crowned the best in Australia.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Brett Fraser said he applauded Caloundra and the other award recipients for their success.

“Congratulations to Caloundra, Airlie Beach and Winton, and to all the finalists in this year’s awards,” he said.

“The Top Tourism Town Awards shine a light on Queensland’s regional gems and reward communities united in delivering memorable holiday experiences.

“While attractions may drive guests to a destination, it is the warm welcome and meaningful customer service that has visitors leaving with a sense of wonderment.

“Congratulations to the winning communities for their remarkable efforts.”

Related story: ‘Stunning’ beach town’s unique new brand

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe acknowledged the town’s commitment to award success.

“Building a great reputation as a Top Tourism Town takes a united, whole community commitment to consistently excellent visitor experiences,” he said.

“Queensland has an awe-inspiring diversity of quality destinations, each vital to the industry led Towards Tourism 2032 roadmap for growing the State’s visitor economy.”

Racing Queensland general manager customer Mathew Rawward, Caloundra Chamber CEO Brady Sullivan and Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe with the award.

The Queensland Top Tourism Town and Top Tour Guide Awards are made possible through the sponsorship of Racing Queensland and oOh!media.

Do you have an opinion to share? Submit a Letter to the Editor at Sunshine Coast News via news@sunshinecoastnews.com.au. You must include your name and suburb.

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