Katherine Outback Experience wins NT Tourism Brolga Awards for best Tourist Attraction and best Visitor Experience
Katherine Outback Experience won the Tourist Attractions category and Visitor Experience Awards at the 2018 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards, the highest accolade in the Northern Territory tourism industry.
Owned and operated by multiple Golden Guitar winner Tom Curtain and his wife Annabel, Katherine Outback Experience is now in its sixth year of operation. The outback show celebrates life on the land through real horse training and working dog demonstrations, entwined with live music and humorous bush stories.
Now in its 32nd year, the awards took place on Saturday 10 November at the Darwin Convention Centre where the industry’s leading tourism businesses and individuals were competing for recognition across 30 categories.
The Tourist Attractions Category recognises natural or built tourist attractions that attract significant visitor numbers during the qualifying period for Northern Territory. The category was judged on business strategies and outcomes, contribution to the industry, customer service standards, sustainability and innovation. The judging panel comprises a cross section of industry experts, selected for their knowledge and experience.
“We are so humbled to be recognised against so many amazing attractions here in the Territory. It hasn’t been an easy road but we are so proud of what we have created and there’s no better feeling than making someone smile,” Tom said.
“We love sharing our knowledge and experiences and showcasing the real side of the Australia outback that tourists and city folk don’t often get to see.”
“We often reflect on how far we have come in such a short time. I remember doing shows in the early days for just one or two people, if anyone turned up at all. Some people told me I had rocks in my head but I had a feeling it could work,” said Tom.
The Visitor Experience Award was introduced this year with a grant to be used for enhancing the visitor experience. The award recognises NT based tourism businesses that are offering the best experiences that connect the NT’s physical assets with the emotional interactions that visitors want to experience. Businesses eligible for this award are NT based tour operators, accommodation providers and tourist attractions.
This award attracted the greatest number of nominations of any category on the night.
“I think it’s the human element of our show that guests love and the fact it’s real, not pre-rehearsed or scripted,” said Annabel. “Although it is not always possible, we try to chat to every guest who attends our shows, even if it’s just a quick thank you.”
“We have big plans moving forward to continue improving the visitor experience for our guests. A major focus for 2019 is building the right team and creating a rewarding and motivating workplace.”
“We are not holding our breath, we are just honoured to be recognised against so many amazing businesses in such a rewarding industry and look forward to continue making people smile,” said Tom.
The Katherine Outback Experience Team are about to set off on their national ‘Speak Up Tour’ through regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. Tom and the team will be visiting a number of schools along the way to spread the Dolly’s Dream message and empower kids to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. The team are also visiting a number of drought stricken towns where they will perform their outback show followed by live music by Tom Curtain. They are also taking the tour to the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival. More information about the tour is available here.