Future tourism stars shine at gala awards

Published 12:00pm 14 August 2023

Future tourism stars shine at gala awards
Words by Ashleigh Howarth

Students from Albany Creek State High School who dream of forging a career in the tourism industry are well on the way to achieving their goals after being recognised for their hard work at a gala awards ceremony.

The school had several students and teachers enter the Queensland Tourism Industry Council’s (QTIC) Salute to Excellence Awards, which recognises exceptional secondary students studying tourism and hospitality, as well as outstanding employers, teachers and trainers who support these students.

Year 12 student Tasmin Masters-Humphrey took out the top gong in the Secondary Student of the Year Award in the Tourism category, with Julie Lewis winning the Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award.

Fellow student Elly Street was named the Tourism runner up, with Brooke Pringle and Tahliah Russell being named Tourism finalists.

Tasmin impressed the judges with her presentation of a three-day itinerary based on tropical North Queensland.

“You don’t know what the criteria is or what your target audience is before you do your presentation, and you only have a short time to prepare,” Tasmin says.

“I did tropical North Queensland, and the three-day itinerary had to meet certain criteria including eco-tourism, adventure and a culinary experience.

“With this year being the Year of Accessible Tourism, I also made sure to include this in my presentation.

“I was a little bit nervous beforehand, but when I got there, I thought it was easy.

“I really want to go into event management and study at university to further that.”

Julie, who has been a familiar face at the awards and even taken home awards in previous years, says she loves helping the next generation follow their goals.

“After dedicating 30 years to teaching tourism, my enthusiasm for sharing knowledge and passion with my students remains unwavering,” Julie says.

“It is fueled by witnessing their skill development and connecting them to real life experiences within this exciting industry.”

Future tourism stars shine at gala awards

About the awards

For 26 years, the Salute to Excellence Awards have had more than 150 Queensland schools participate in the program, including 658 finalists and 82 winners.

This year, 34 finalists competed across five award categories, with entries from as far north of Townsville.

The categories included Secondary Student of the Year Award Cookery, Secondary Student of the Year Food and Beverage, Secondary Student of the Year Tourism, Teacher/Trainer of the Year and Employer of the Year.

QTIC CEO Brett Fraser congratulated the winners saying the awards program was a fantastic way to inspire a new generation of industry leaders and to celebrate the dedicated educators supporting them.

“Coming after a few challenging years in our industry, it’s especially important for our sector to promote and support a cohort of high achievers,” Brett says.

“With more than 4,900 tourism and hospitality job vacancies across Queensland, our industry is in desperate need of a dedicated workforce. We also rely on exceptional employers and educators to guide those pursuing a career in the industry.

“The Salute to Excellence Awards is a chance for our industry to rally and champion the enthusiasm and talents of our industry’s best and brightest.”

Brett says he has seen past winners go on to live very successful careers in the sector, including working in five-star resorts, managing some of the state’s biggest events, and becoming some of Queensland’s best chefs.

The 2023 Salute to Excellence Awards were supported by the Queensland Government, TAFE Queensland, Fun Over Fifty, Le Cordon Blue, Riverlife, Mantle Group, Mayfair College and Southport Sharks.

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