Region's Richness Recognised by Wotif

Lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and spectacular coral reefs - Mackay and The Whitsundays’ appeal to visitors has now added another commendation. Leading online travel site has recognised both Mackay and Airlie Beach amongst its 2020 Aussie Town of the Year award recipients.

Winner of the Town of the Year for 2018, Mackay was again distinguished taking out 2nd place in the rankings. The Sugar City was joined on the list by its northern neighbour Airlie Beach, which came in 3rd.

Now in their third year, Wotif’s awards are a definite ranking of the top 10 destinations set to be on Aussie travellers’ bucket lists in 2020. The 2020 Wotif Aussie Town of the Year awards are based on a thorough data index which examines a location’s affordability, accommodation offering, demand and traveller reviews on

Wotif Managing Director, Daniel Finch says: “We’re spoiled for choice in Australia, and our annual Aussie Town of the Year initiative is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the many cities, towns and regions worthy of the spotlight. Tourism is the driving force behind many regional economies and with a record $77.5 billion spent on domestic travel last year, we hope to see more Aussies consider a local holiday in the year ahead.”

The region’s strong showing looks set to provide a significant marketing boost for Mackay Tourism and Tourism Whitsundays.

Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Whitsundays Natassia Wheeler explained what made Airlie Beach and Mackay such worthy recipients of the 2020 Wotif Town of Aussie Town of the Year awards.

“Soaked in the beautiful Queensland sun, Airlie Beach and Mackay offer the quintessential Aussie holiday. Friendly locals, unspoilt natural surrounds and abundant wildlife means visitors to Mackay and The Whitsundays never have to look far for the next memorable holiday experience,” she said.

Ms Wheeler continued, “Mackay and The Whitsundays represent a true rainforest to reef adventure. From snorkelling in the seas to hiking through the trees, there is something to suit everyone, no matter your budget or interests.”

“I’m confident that with two of Australia’s best towns, thousands of visitors will be encouraged to visit our regions, so thank you to,” she said.

Mackay Tourism Chief Executive Officer Tas Webber said, “being named as the 2018 Town of the Year resulted in substantial media value and contributed to putting Mackay on the tourism map.”

He continued, “to have the second and third placed Town of the Year award recipients, speaks volumes for the appeal of the Mackay and The Whitsunday regions. Two incredibly diverse regions being so conveniently located is a major drawcard for visitors.”

“Nowhere else in the world can visitors experience ancient volcanic peaks, sub-tropical rainforests, white sandy beaches and coral reefs - all within a two-hour drive” explained Mr. Webber.

Mackay Regional Council Mayor Greg Williamson also welcomed the news.

"We are proud that the Mackay region has been recognised again as one of the best places to visit in Australia in 2020 after taking out the top spot in 2018," he said.

Cr Williamson continued, "there is so much to do in our region, from watching the wallabies on the beach at sunrise at Cape Hillsborough, to enjoying time at one of our 31 pristine beaches, taking a tour of the award-winning Sarina Sugar Shed to learn how sugar is produced or wetting a line at some of North Queensland’s top fishing spots."

"Broken River in Eungella National Park and Oliver’s Pool near Finch Hatton Gorge are also recognised as some of the best places in the world to catch a glimpse of platypus in the wild. We look forward to welcoming plenty more tourists to our region in 2020!"

Wotif 2020 Aussie Town of the Year Awards

1.             Coffs Harbour, NSW (winner)

2.            Mackay, QLD

3.            Airlie Beach, QLD

4.            Batemans Bay, NSW

5.            Cairns, QLD

6.            Port Fairy, VIC

7.            Albany, WA

8.            Katoomba, NSW

9.            Margaret River, WA

10.          Maroochydore, QLD




Daniel Brown - Communications Officer

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Thursday, 5 March 2020

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