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Two leading Sunshine Coast tourism operators will compete against Australia’s best in Friday night’s Australian Tourism Awards, being held in Darwin. 

Creative Tours and Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat will be aiming to translate their gold medal performances in the Queensland Tourism Awards to national honours. 

Premium tour operator, Creative Tours, will represent the Sunshine Coast in two categories – Tour and Transport Operators, and Excellence in Food. 

Matt Stoeckel and Josh Donohoe

Matt Stoeckel and Josh Donohoe

 Montville based Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat will be aiming to take out gold in the Hosted Accommodation category.

 Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Matt Stoeckel, wished the two operators all the best in the national awards, saying their gold medal success in the Queensland Tourism Awards reflected the exceptional quality and professionalism of the product they delivered. 

 “Josh Donohoe and the Creative Tours team deservedly scored a rare double gold in the Queensland awards and their pioneering development of tours focusing on the Sunshine Coast’s rich food and drink trails deserves recognition on the national stage,” said Mr Stoeckel.  

 “Josh has played a key role in building the Sunshine Coast’s position as Australia’s Craft Beer Capital, and more recently he has contributed to our innovative Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry program, which is promoting the region’s agritourism attractions. 

 “I would also like to congratulate Ali and Xochi at Narrows Escape Rainforest Retreat who are no strangers to the National Tourism Awards winning gold in 2022. They are one of Australia’s most decorated properties and deservedly named by Trip Advisor as the “most romantic hotel in the world”.  

 “For their efforts, they already have a cabinet full of trophies and their recent improvements to the property with two new luxury cabins should impress the judges. They are renowned for their attention to detail, the way they operate in such pristine environments and their personal and professional service…plus their homemade croissants are to die for! 

 “They are true ambassadors for the region and their constant investment in the property is reflected by the world-wide audience they attract and the incredibly positive guest responses they receive.”  

 Ali and Xochi said they were “thrilled to be representing the Sunshine Coast and Queensland in the hosted accommodation category” and “it is an honour to be nominated with some of Australia’s best accommodation”. 

Creative Tours owner Josh Donohoe said he was excited to be competing for gold at the national tourism awards off the back of the state level win and consecutive gold awards in the ‘Experiences’ category in 2022 and 2023 at the Sunshine Coast Business Awards. 

 “We are so proud of our recent achievements and awards and honoured to be representing the Sunshine Coast against some of the country’s best tourism businesses,” he said. 

 And he said there was more than additional award wins on the horizon for Creative Tours as they prepared to bring their newest tour offerings to the Sunshine Coast in 2024.  

  “This year we are focusing even more on showcasing our amazing local farmers, producers and restaurants who champion and support the local businesses in our region. Customers can expect guided tours of local markets, food and drink pairing events, plus some unique offerings for The Curated Plate, Noosa Eat & Drink and GourMay festivals,” Josh said. 

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