5 reasons why Tasmania is Australia's best tourism destination

Tasmanian tourism operators have taken out seven of the top ten awards at the national industry awards ceremony for 2014.

Of the total 29 awards handed out, Tassie took away ten gold, three silver and three bronze — recognition for the “record number of Australian and overseas visitors” the state has been receiving, according to Tourism Tasmania chief executive John Fitzgerald.

Among the winners were historical sites, cruise companies and cultural festivals, some of which won multiple gold awards.

“Our lead tourism operators have every right to think they’re leading the country in tourism and we are well on our way to being a world-class visitor destination,” Tasmania’s Tourism Industry Council chief executive Luke Martin told the ABC.

Tasmania’s tourism industry is worth $2.4 billion to the state economy per year and directly and indirectly employs 28,000 Tasmanians.

Here’s a look at why Tasmania tops the list of great Australian tourism experiences.

1. The Port Arthur Historic Sites.

The view from the Guard Tower.

The Port Arthur Historic Sites won the Gold Award in the Major Tourist Attractions Category. The site, located in the south-east of Tasmania on the Tasman Peninsula, is one of Australia's most intact and evocative convict site.

Among the sites are 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes set spanning across 40 hectares of landscaped grounds.

Visitors can also take a boat ride to the Isle of the Dead and for a guided tour of Port Arthur's island cemetery or Point Puer Boys Prison, the first reformatory in the British Empire built exclusively for juvenile male convicts.

The Port Arthur Historic Sites also won the Gold Award in the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Category.

The site forms part of the Australian Convict Sites, a World Heritage property consisting of eleven remnant penal sites originally built within the British Empire during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Port Arthur receives more than 250,000 visitors each year.

2. Bruny Island Cruises.

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys.

Bruny Island Cruises won the Gold Award in the Tourist Attractions Category for its 3-hour Wilderness Cruise which explores the rugged coastline of Bruny Island in southern Tasmania.

On the cruise visitors can see some of Australia's highest sea cliffs, enter deep sea caves, pass through the 'The Monument' and see coastal wildlife such as seals, dolphins, whales and sea birds

Bruny Island Cruises also won the Gold Award in the Ecotourism Category.

If it didn't win you over with its appeal as a tourist attraction, the Cruise company works hard to minimise its environmental footprint and is a substantial contributor to conservation. The company boasts usage of the internationally recognised EarthCheck system to measure it's energy use, water consumption and waste output..

3. Woodford Folk Festival 13/14.

Opening Ceremony & Fire Event - 2013.

The Woodford Folk Festival won the Gold Award in the Major Festivals and Events Category.

The annual festival, which runs over six days and six nights, is held on a 500-acre parkland located on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, just over an hour north of Brisbane.

For the festival Woodfordia is transformed into a village to hosts over 20,000 people.

More than 2000 local, national and international performers - made up of singers, dances, writers, comedians and street theatre performers - feature in over 1,536 shows.

The festival describes itself as 'a place you can escape from reality and immerse yourself in cultures from near and far'.

4. The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

Toowoomba's Parks & Gardens.

The Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers won the Gold Award in the Festivals and Events Category for its annual 10-days celebration of spring.

The carnival is the longest running event of its kind in Australia. It's a cultural party combining flowers, food, wine and entertainment.

Highlights include the Ergon Energy Flower, Food & Wine Festival and the ever-vibrant Grand Central Floral Parade.

5. The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel.

The Old Woolstore.

The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel won the Gold Award in the Business Tourism Category. The Old Woolstore’s accommodation in Hobart is centrally located within the city centre, combining a unique choice of fully serviced hotel rooms and apartments, as well as a comprehensive range of meeting, conference and hospitality services.

The building incorporates the National Trust-listed facade of one of Hobart’s best known old buildings, the Robert’s Limited woolstore - a former wool storage and treatment facility that processed the state's wool and then shipped it to the rest of Australia.

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