2022 Outback Queensland Tourism Excellence Awards


Award Submissions Open – 20 January 2023
Award Submissions Close – 3 February 2023
Awards Announced – 8 March 2023

The 2022 Outback Queensland Tourism Excellence Awards highlight, recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of OQTA members during the 12-month period from January to December 2022.

Last held in 2019, the OQTA Awards provide a benchmark for best practise in the tourism industry, encourage industry development, promote the need to consistently raise the service and operational standards across Outback Queensland and provide an opportunity to showcase innovation and excellence.

Designed specifically for members of OQTA the application process has been significantly streamlined from previous years to encourage entries from owner operators and businesses with employees.

Awards will be announced at the OQTA Tourism Excellence Awards Cocktail event on 8 March 2023.

The OQTA Awards are not linked to tourism awards at a state or national level although entry can provide an insight to the type of information that may be required for awards at this level.


All current members of OQTA are welcomed and encouraged to enter a submission in one or more of the four award categories with entries accepted as per the following:

Best New Visitor Experience Award – This award recognises excellence in the planning and development of new visitor experiences including tourism infrastructure and/or services eg tours, attractions, festivals, events, retail etc.

Submissions can be made by the business operator or their representative only.

Social Media Legend Award – This award recognises an individual or business that uses social media in an innovative manner to increase awareness and desirability to visit their business and destination Outback Queensland. Innovation examples may include campaigns, content development, use of influencers etc.

Submissions can be made by the business operator or their representative only.

Young Achiever Award (Under 35 years) – This award recognises an individual, less than 35 years of age, working in the tourism industry who have made noteworthy achievement that contributed to the development of a vibrant and professional tourism industry in the Queensland Outback.

Submissions can be made by an individual who is under 35 years of age ie self-nomination, or submissions can be made by members who are nominating another individual under the age of 35 years

Vince Evert Memorial for Outstanding Contribution to Tourism – This award celebrates the strong personal commitment made by an individual or team of volunteers who have made a positive contribution to the tourism landscape in Outback Queensland in the past year. They may be known for their passion, skill, service, support, strategy or leadership. They may be in the tourism industry or they may work in other sectors. Whoever they are, if they have made a positive contribution to the professionalism of our industry and the positive image of tourism in Outback Queensland during 2022, they can be nominated.

Submissions can only be made by OQTA members who may nominate any other person/s. For this award only, the person/s being nominated do not have to be an OQTA member.


Meet the judges of the 2022 Outback Queensland Tourism Excellence Awards which highlight, recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of OQTA members.

Joan Molloy

dtb! Advertising

Joan has over 25 years’ experience in marketing brands to global audiences with Senior Vice-President marketing positions in the USA and senior airline and wholesale travel positions in Sydney and Melbourne.

Through this experience Joan joined her brother Michael in purchasing dtb! Advertising on the Sunshine Coast to support the tourism industry across Queensland, with notable recent experience of over five-years as Tourism and Events Queensland’s Official Sales Agency.

With extensive tourism marketing experience, Joan has collaborated with Regional Tourism Organisations, Councils and operators across Queensland from the Gold Coast to Cape York and to the Outback developing strategic partnerships to showcase diverse and unique experiences that Queensland has in abundance.

Passionate about the tourism industry Joan has been involved with the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) as a judge for the past two-years for the Queensland Tourism Awards.

Michelle Weston

Chief Executive Officer, Caravan Parks Association of Queensland and Director, Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC)

With close to fifteen years’ experience in caravanning industry associations, most recently as Chief Executive Officer of CPAQ, Michelle has worked to develop relationships with the 335 plus caravan park members of CPAQ along with another 100 associate members. With a highly engaged membership base, consisting primarily of small operators, Michelle and her team actively support their members by actively advocating for whole-of-tourism programs and providing support, and a friendly ear, to these members.

Through this role, Michelle has had the opportunity to travel extensively around Queensland and uses this knowledge to help promote the state, and particularly Drive Tourism, when speaking to media and project managing CPAQ’s attendance at the major industry run caravan and camping shows across Australia.

For the past five years, Michelle has been an active participant of the QTIC Associations Council, developing meaningful relationships with other participants and through this a broader understanding of issues and opportunities face other sectors of the tourism sector. As a result of her appointment as the Chair of the Associations Council, Michelle has also been appointed to the QTIC Board, where she brings a strong regional perspective and provides a voice for small tourism businesses across the state.

Julie Cullen

Director Tourism Tap

Julie’s 40-year career has provided her with the unique opportunity to develop, launch, market and/or manage some of Australia’s best loved tourism destinations, events, attractions, and products. The commercialisation and management of the $54M Cairns Aquarium, the commercialisation of Saltwater Eco Tours on the Sunshine Coast and the launch of Mandingalbay Authentic Indigenous Tours in Cairns are three of the most recent, significant projects she has undertaken.

Working for Regional Tourism Organisations, Councils, publicly listed companies, government owned corporations, and small to medium private enterprise businesses, in strategic marketing and operational management roles, has facilitated Julie’s exposure to a wide range of business models and operations, resulting in a broad industry profile, knowledge base and professional network.

Julie leverages this knowledge to assist businesses to generate new, or increased revenue streams from tourism related activities. Clients can secure her services to manage the entire product development cycle from concept to consumer or tap into her considerable knowledge base to solve specific problems or identify and leverage emerging tourism opportunities.

Julie holds a Bachelor of Applied Science – Biology, and has been a judge of the Qld Tourism Awards since 2019.