Tasmanian eco cruising pioneer Robert Pennicott and his team were in the spotlight last Friday night winning an unprecedented five Australian Tourism Awards.
Competing with the best of the best in the tourism industry from all states and territories, Rob's iconic wilderness experience, Bruny Island Cruises took out the award for Australia's Best Tourist Attraction and Australia's Best Ecotourism operator for 2014.
The company's continued devotion to sustainable business operations and environmental conservation was once again honoured with the Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism.
"We love our state and take pride in its pristine beauty, but, it is important that we preserve its integrity for future generations," Rob says. "Being acknowledged for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism is so rewarding, because it is at the heart of everything we do."
The ceremony, which was held at the Convention Centre in Adelaide, is the tourism industry's most coveted awards. Now into its 30th year, the annual event celebrates the highest achievements of Australian tourism businesses.
This was the third year in a row that the company won awards for Ecotourism and Excellence in Sustainable Tourism. This remarkable achievement means that Pennicott Wilderness Journeys has become the first Tasmanian business inducted into the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame.
"It’s an incredible honour to be one of just 25 Australian businesses in the Australian Tourism Awards Hall of Fame," Rob says.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys' exciting new gourmet seafood experience - Tasmanian Seafood Seduction was judged Australia's Best New Tourism Development. This luxury cruise is a world's first seafood gathering experience.
"I’m proud to be able to showcase wild abalone, rock lobster, oysters, sea urchin and salmon straight from Tasmania’s pristine waters, as well as our delicious local produce, boutique beers, wines, ciders and organic juices."
"It’s always been a dream of mine to create an experience like Tasmanian Seafood Seduction", Rob says. "I’ve based it around the sorts of things I love to do when I get a day off with my family."
Internationally renowned chef Tetsuya Wakuda said "the day out on Tasmanian Seafood Seduction was life-changing. It was unlike anything else in the world".
To top off the evening, Rob Pennicott was named the 2014 Australian Tourism Legend. According to Tasmanian Premier, Will Hodgman, he is undoubtedly a worthy recipient of the prestigious status.
"Rob's ingenuity and authenticity has drawn so many travellers from across the world to share in his love for our island, and this award for Rob and his team is well deserved."
Rob founded Pennicott Wilderness Journeys back in 1999. He started with a single 12 seater boat and he skippered every trip himself for the first 6 years. Word got around and the business flourished. Now the yellow boats are an unmistakable icon being recognised on a national stage.
Rob says it's just the beginning of exciting things to come. "We are so lucky to call home to such a beautiful island known for its pristine wilderness, spectacular coastlines, fresh produce, exquisite wine and rich culture and history – that's why Tasmania was so successful at this year's Australian Tourism Awards and I'm extremely proud to be part of that."