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The very best of Australia’s tourism industry will visit the Sunshine Coast next year, following the region’s confirmation as the host destination for the 2021 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.

Queensland Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones announced the win at the 2020 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Canberra on Friday night, saying that the Sunshine Coast was the “perfect place” to host tourism’s annual night of nights.

The Minister said: “Sunshine Coast is a key growth market for tourism in Queensland. It’s an ideal spot for the Australian Tourism Awards in 2021.

“They did a great job at the new $8 million convention centre at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort last year. Next year will be bigger and better than ever.”

Next year’s award ceremony will be held in March 2021 at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre and is expected to attract more than 850 award finalists, tourism leaders and industry stakeholders from across the country.

Sunshine Coast Convention Centre at Novotel Twin Waters Resort

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford described the announcement as a major coup for the region and ‘Team Sunshine Coast’.

“It’s a credit to the Sunshine Coast tourism industry as a whole and the collaborative efforts of the Queensland Government, Tourism and Events Queensland, Sunshine Coast Council, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and Sunshine Coast Airport,” Mr Latchford said.

“Winning the tourism industry’s premier awards event is massive and will result in a significant injection of over 850 extra visitors to the region in an off-peak time – a very welcome boost for local operators.

“The announcement follows the Sunshine Coast’s hosting of the Queensland Tourism Awards, Destination Q and Destination IQ – three of the leading tourism events in the state – at the Sunshine Coast Convention Centre in November 2019.

“These events saw the region roll out the red carpet for the state’s tourism industry, and the fact that we are now hosting the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards just two years later speaks volumes about their success.”

In the year-end September 2019 business and business events travel to the Sunshine Coast increased by a record 34.6 per cent, bringing 379,000 visitors to the region.

Sunshine Coast Events Board Chair Maya Gurry said, “hosting the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards is highly coveted by tourism destinations across Australia, as it provides the opportunity to raise the profile of our region and showcase our capabilities to the best of the tourism industry.

“In addition to promoting our region to the more than 850 tourism industry leaders who attend this gala event, we will also see an estimated economic injection of $1.3 million into our local economy.

“The awards were last hosted in Queensland in 2012 and we are thrilled that the State Government and the Queensland Tourism Industry Council have such high confidence in the Sunshine Coast’s ability to deliver an outstanding tourism industry gala.”

Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said the Sunshine Coast region was growing in reputation as a premier tourist destination and hosting the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards cemented that.

“We are seeing significant investment in visitor infrastructure on the Sunshine Coast at the moment, with new 5-star hotels under construction and our new runway due to open in coming months, which will open up more domestic and international markets,” Mr Brodie said.

“Business and events travel, supported by the new Convention Centre, is a rapidly growing market for our region, and the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards is tremendous recognition.

“We look forward to welcoming our tourism colleagues to what we consider to be the most amazing piece of our remarkable country.”