Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Tasmanian Tourism Awards Dirty Little Secret

We should all be aware by now of the dodgy nature of some of the ‘gold medals’ emblazoned on bottles of wine. But I was stunned to find out a little known ‘dirty secret’ behind the Tasmanian Tourism Awards. Congratulations to all the winners and all that, but BLOODY HELL, I was shocked!

Before I proceed, let me tell you I really do like Peppermint Bay (www.peppermintbay.com.au). I haven’t tried the fancy shmancy restaurant yet, but I think The Local (i.e., the pub-esque bit with the funky tables) is pretty darn good. Cheap pizzas (reputedly “ace”) and pretty scrummy seafood chowder (take note Rockerfellers), most meals are around the $10 mark (even their very good steak is only $16 or so), and there's a cozy little lounge area like something from a 1970s knitting catalogue (in a good way!). So, I was not surprised by PB’s recent gong at the Tas Tourism Awards. Well done PB, well done Simon Currant, job well done, gong well won. … But did I mention BLOODY HELL.

You and I would think that to win an award for outstanding professional excellence and tourism magnificence, one must be nominated right? WRONG! The awardees APPLY for these awards. They fill in screeds of paperwork and try to meet selection criteria etc etc and then cross their fingers. So, I hear you say, that's a surprise. But hey, Peppermint Bay still won on their merits and that's really great. Except that in their category, Peppermint Bay was the ONLY APPLICANT.

So in the interest of consumer education I pass along this little tid-bit to encourage educated decision making by locals and tourists alike. Don’t be lazy. We’re getting better at reading the gold labels before letting them trick us into thinking the “Wandin Valley Croquet Club’s Quaff of the Christmas Party Award” is equivalent to a thumbs up from the hard core wine fraternity. So let’s get equally canny about the subliminal influence exerted by potentially empty tourism awards.

But well done Peppermint Bay, keep up the standard. And as I lay me down to sleep, I pray you won’t become complacent.

GW the HRB


Anonymous said...

the only solution is for you to initiate the 'hobart restaurant bitch awards'. just think of the potential categories...........i'll dig out the red carpet and start shopping for a new frock immediately.

jamey - or is it janey?

Georgie Weston said...

Hi Jamey/Janey ... nice to hear from you again. Yes, you're absolutely right. The Hobart Restaurant Bitch of the Year Awards will be coming soon to a red carpet venue near you. Not sure yet if the Bitch of the Year shoud go to the best/worst restaurant or the best/worst bitch ... maybe both! Details, details!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ms Watson,

I was disturbed to read your diatribe associated with the Tasmanian Tourism Awards. Firstly, let me clarify that Peppermint Bay was awarded the Best New Tourism Development. This award is very competitive nationally and I am proud of Tasmania's entry and hope that we are in with a good chance of achieving national recognition for what is an outstanding new product.

The process involved with nominating for a tourism award is clear to both the public and industry. Nominees must be willing to put their businesses forward to be judged by a panel of their peers. It is a rigorous process and nominees are required to meet a certain standard before an award is issued. Indeed, there are a number of occasions when the judges have not issued an award because the nominated business did not fit the criteria of 'excellence'. In addition, the awards process is extensively audited through KPMG to ensure absolute integrity in process. I should also point out that the vast majority of industry awards are conducted on a nomination basis to ensure equity for all.

Perhaps it would be appropriate when attacking the industry awards to firstly check the facts with the organisors rather than promulgating
misinformation and degrading the outstanding achievements of those that submit themselves for review amongst their peers.

The tourism industry is proud of its outstanding quality and we continue to collect national and international recognition for the quality of our
product. We as a Tasmanian community should be supporting these businesses that employ thousands and are one of the largest contributors to the economic revival of the State.

Yours sincerely

Daniel J Leesong
Chief Executive Officer
Tourism Council Tasmania