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Double win at 2019 Australian Tourism Awards  

Red Cat Adventures brings home the gold

Asher and Julie Telford could never have imagined ‘the cat was in the bag’ when they walked into the 2019 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Canberra on Friday night.At the end of the ceremony their Whitsunday business, Red Cat Adventures, was the recipient of not one, but two prestigious national awards.

Red Cat Adventures is the first Whitsunday business in history to take home gold as Major Tour and Transport Operators, and silver for Adventure Tourism, in a single year. Having won awards in these sectors at state and local levels, the Telfords were hoping to retain their 2018 national gold as Major Transport providers. They could barely dare to dream of adding Adventure Tourism to the Australian trophy mix. “We’re just so proud,” Julie Telford said.“We’re proud of our staff, our business achievements, what we bring to Australia, Queensland and the Whitsundays, and proud of ourselves, our family and everyone who supports us.”

The Telfords know they must keep pushing boundaries to stay on top. Over the past 12 months, the couple has added a fourth boat to the Red Cat Adventures fleet, and the third which is purpose-built for adventure tours in the Whitsunday islands on the Great Barrier Reef. “We spent a considerable amount of time on computer modelling and hull customisation to make this boat even more fuel-efficient, while at the same time increasing our capacity by 25 per cent,” Asher Telford explained. “All of our vessels are one-of-a-kind custom-designed boats, but this latest model has cut 20 percent off our fuel use while allowing us to introduce another 13,000 travellers to the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Red Cat Adventures’ core business is giving guests the experience of a lifetime on tours that quench varying thirsts for adventure. From whizzing around the Whitsundays on a high-efficiency ‘Thundercat’ to sleeping under the stars on the carbon-neutral catamaran ‘Tongarra’, to enjoying a ‘Ride to Paradise’ at the boutique Paradise Cove Resort, a tour with Red Cat Adventures is the definition of adventure.

In the past year, the company has expanded in other ways than by simply growing its fleet. Red Cat Adventures now manifests other operators, as well as hosting weddings, events, and the perfect Sunday chill-out ‘Sessions in Paradise’ at the Paradise Cove Resort. The company has been recognised as an Eco-Tourism Australia Climate Action Leader and was awarded the 2019 Australian Enterprise Award for Most Innovative Charter Boat Business – Queensland. “We did a lot in a year so there was no shortage of content for our national award submission and it came from the heart,” Julie said. “We’ve got a lot to tell the tourism industry and the world about we’re doing and what we’ve got planned.”

Both on stage at the awards ceremony and off stage in private, the Telfords paid homage to their ever-growing family of 32 staff. “Working for Red Cat Adventures is more than just a job – it’s a career pathway,” Julie said.  “We always look to up-skill from within and invest in our team. “This is rewarded with hard work, loyalty, and dedication to the industry, which in turn leads to achievements like this.” “These awards are a team effort and we’d like to thank everyone who supports Red Cat Adventures, including our staff, agents, suppliers, business advisors and most importantly our customers,” Asher continued. “We’re very focussed on customer satisfaction and use feedback to inform our decision-making and help us provide the best possible tours.”

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