Golden night for Empire Apartment Hotel and Beef 21 at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards

Rockhampton and the Capricorn region’s tourism industry received a huge boost over the weekend as two golds and a silver were proudly accepted by Empire Apartment Hotel and Beef 21 at the prestigious Qantas Australian Tourism Awards on the Sunshine Coast.

More than 700 tourism operators and guests swarmed the Coast’s Convention Centre on Friday 17th March, celebrating the 75 Awards presented across 25 categories, with Beef Australia taking out GOLD for Major Festivals and Events, and Empire Apartment Hotel named as the best Deluxe Accommodation.

The Cassidy Group also accepted Silver in Business Event Venues, while our Southern Great Barrier Reef neighbours at Bundaberg Rum Distillery proudly positioned themselves in the honourable Hall of Fame with a golden hat trick, winning the Tourism Wineries, Distilleries and Breweries category.

Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll extended her congratulations to the teams from Empire Apartment Hotel and Beef Australia for this outstanding accomplishment in putting Rockhampton well and truly on the map.

“We are extremely proud of the teams at Empire Apartment Hotel and Beef 21 with these awards testament to the commitment and dedication shown each and every day by our destination’s operators,” Mary said.

“Only Gold State award winners are eligible to compete in the Australian Tourism Awards, and we held high hopes for Empire and Beef 21, and they certainly lived up to our expectations.”

After winning Gold in the ‘Deluxe Accommodation’ category for three consecutive years at last year’s Queensland Tourism Awards, Empire Apartment Hotel joined the prestigious Queensland Hall of Fame list of winners, and Managing Director, Grant Cassidy is relishing the impressive accolade.

“Being awarded the best in Australia is an incredible acknowledgement of the world-class product and service our team deliver every day in Rockhampton” Grant said.

“I would like to congratulate my team and thank each one of them for their commitment on consistently delivering a product so our guests can experience Rockhampton like they’ve never seen it before!”

Opening its doors in December 2014, the 13 storey $65 million project caters for the business and leisure tourism market with 138 rooms in total. In the last 12 months, more than 50,000 guests have enjoyed the ‘Empire Experience’.

Standing tall in the heart of the CBD Riverfront Dining Precinct, the Empire boasts a 120-person capacity conference room, a porte-cochère entrance into our lounge foyer with 24-hour reception, a rooftop tropical pool and gymnasium, secure underground parking, and three onsite dining options.

Following a hugely attended event back in May, Beef Australia CEO, Simon Irwin, said that the national award was a fitting tribute to everybody who was a part of the Beef 2021 event.

“When you think that six weeks prior to the event, borders were closed and six weeks later they were playing NRL in empty stadiums, it is almost unbelievable that an event of this scale could be held so successfully,” Simon said.

“It was a demonstration of faith by our presenting partners, in the abilities of the Board and the Beef Australia team to organise such a major undertaking in such a shortened time.”

“To be named firstly as a Queensland winner in two categories, to now receiving the national gong, we are very grateful and humbled to have such wonderful support from so many and I thank them for their kind words and messages of congratulations.”

A full list of winners can be found at

QLD Gold Winners

QLD13. Adventure TourismRed Cat Adventures (Whitsundays)
QLD16. Tourism Wineries, Distilleries & BreweriesBundaberg Rum Distillery Visitor Experience (Hall of Fame) (Bundaberg)
QLD18. Hosted AccommodationNarrows Escape Rainforest Retreat (Sunshine Coast)
QLD22. 4-4.5 Star AccommodationEmpire Apartment Hotel (Capricorn)
QLD03. Major Festivals & EventsBeef Australia Limited (Capricorn)
QLD07. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander TourismSpirits of the Red Sand (Brisbane)

QLD Silver Winners

QLD01. Major Tourist AttractionsCurrumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Gold Coast)
QLD10. Business Event VenuesEmpire Apartment Hotel (Capricorn)
QLD11. Major Tour & Transport OperatorsRed Cat Adventures (Whitsundays)
QLD17. Caravan & Holiday ParksJulia Creek Caravan Park (Outback)
QLD20. Self Contained AccommodationPinnacles Resort (Whitsundays)

QLD Bronze Winners

QLD23. 5 Star AccommodationInterContinental Hayman Island Resort (Whitsundays)
QLD04. Festivals & EventsIsaac Regional Council – Economy and Prosperity Department (Mackay)
QLD08. Tourism Retail & Hire ServicesPelican Boat Hire (Sunshine Coast)
QLD09. Visitor Information ServicesLongreach Visitor Information Centre (Outback)

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