Our very own tropical paradise has been named Aussie Town of the Year for 2021 by domestic travel site Wotif.com.
The annual award, which highlights the special gems we can find in our own backyard, has recognised Cairns as the top tourism destination in the country for the year ahead.
Winning destinations have typically been chosen based on accommodation quality, affordability and traveller satisfaction, but this year the awards also recognised places that have met the changing needs of travellers over the past 12 months as a result of COVID-19.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mark Olsen said the local industry was excited by the announcement after a difficult 2020.
“Here in the state’s tropical north we have been fortunate to have very few cases of COVID-19, allowing us to move about more freely,” he said.
“However, the economic impact of closed borders has decimated our economy, which relies on tourism.
“Australians are desperate for a holiday and Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, with its wide-open spaces, low population and excellent nature-based experiences, is the ideal destination.”
Director of Distribution and Leisure for the Shangri-La Group Gavin Maloney said the award came at a great time for travel businesses, who have been working hard to keep the community strong during the coronavirus pandemic.
“A trip to Cairns keeps locals in a job, and that extends beyond travel businesses – to farmers growing fruit on the Tablelands, boutiques selling bathers by the beach, and cafes serving coffee to the boat crews getting ready to carry tourists to the Great Barrier Reef,” said Gavin.
The announcement had Wotif Managing Director Daniel Finch singing the city’s praises, calling Cairns a “standout destination”.
“Not only is it the gateway to one of Australia’s most treasured natural beauties, the Great Barrier Reef, but the city itself offers the ideal laid-back tropical lifestyle,” said Daniel.
“With an average nightly accommodation rate of $155 in 2020, it’s time Aussies consider visiting this incredible part of Australia that people from all over the world come to see.”
The news came after research from Wotif confirmed that the overwhelming majority of Aussies who managed to take a domestic holiday in 2020 were happy with their trip, with 95 per cent stating it either met or exceeded their expectations.
A quarter of Australians admitted they had forgotten how great a local trip can be, with a further 60 per cent saying they now recognise there is a lot more to explore in their own backyards.
Congratulations to everyone who worked hard to make Cairns the top travel destination in 2021.
To view the full list of winners and to take advantage of the winning destinations’ latest travel deals, go to wotif.com/aussietownoftheyear.