Best in the tourism business
TWO Southern Downs venues have both won major accolades for tourism.
Maryvale's Bestbrook Mountain Resort took out the joint Southern Queensland Country Tourism Chairman's award, along with Ballandean Estate Wines.
Owned by Elise and Ray Vincent, Bestbrook offers self-contained cabins, backpacker-style bunkhouses and bush camping on a sprawling 500 acre property just off the Cunningham Highway.
The couple have been at the helm of the business for the past 13 years, and have been steadily working to welcome more visitors.
"Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the conference they had in Kingaroy when they announced the awards," Ms Vincent said.
"A couple of years ago we were named runners-up and this year we were lucky enough to win.
"For the last five years we've been working closely with Tourism Queensland to increase our visitor numbers domestically and internationally.
"We've been to Singapore recently and were involved in the Australian Tourism Exchange on the Gold Coast last year, as an opportunity for tourism operators to showcase their business.
"I think tourism is certainly growing for the region because we're so close to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, but there's always more we can do to get the region out there."
R On The Downs at Yangan was also named a finalist in the Chairman's Awards.
Southern Queensland Country Tourism chairwoman Jane Summers said she couldn't split between the two Southern Downs entries.
Aside from spectacular views, Bestbrook has a range of activities including animal feeding, wagon rides, bike riding, catching yabbies and swimming at Gap Creek during summer and enjoying a toasty campfire during the winter months.
Dr Summers said the winners were proactive in their businesses, engaged with other regional tourism operators and worked closely with the Regional Tourism Organisation.
"Both Ballandean Estate and Bestbrook Mountain Resort offer a brilliant experience for their guests while showcasing their unique part of Southern Queensland Country and both interact with fellow tourism operators and us, the regional tourism organisation at every opportunity," she said.
"What is common among these tourism leaders is an unreserved commitment and willingness to go beyond people's expectations - they not only welcome their guests genuinely and enhance their experience of the region but they do their part to develop tourism locally and at a regional level."
Each winner receives $1200 worth of mentoring or marketing support for their businesses. Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie also praised the efforts of the two local winners and other finalists.
"Both Ballandean Estate Wines and Bestbrook Mountain Retreat are leaders in their industry and we're so proud of their deserved win," Cr Dobie said.
"Both business do outstanding work every day in welcoming visitors to their businesses and our region.