The Queensland Tourism Awards (QTAs) have returned with a bang to celebrate Queensland's biggest year of intrastate travel since before the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report from Tourism and Events Queensland stated that in 2021, Queensland experienced a 9.1 per cent increase in intrastate holiday travel, with 7.3 million Queenslanders holidaying in their own backyard.
QTIC chief executive Brett Fraser said it's special to be able to celebrate Queenslanders supporting Queenslanders at this year's awards after what has been a tumultuous couple of years for the industry.
"The QTIC awards acknowledge and showcase some of Queensland's finest tourism operators for 2022," Mr Fraser said.
"In what has been Queensland's biggest year for intrastate holidaying since before the pandemic, this year's awards provide an opportunity for tourism organisations to put themselves forward and highlight the innovative measures they've taken to bounce back over the last 12 months.
"It's obviously been a really tough couple of years for the industry, but we've got a diverse range of entrants so far that have successfully catered to the growth of Queensland's strong intrastate travel market.
"There's a lot to celebrate in Queensland tourism this year, and I'd encourage our tourism operators to reflect on their success throughout the year and put their best foot forward."
The report from TEQ stated that intrastate overnight visitor expenditure (OVE) in 2021 increased by 10.1 percent to a record $11.2 billion.
Queensland also led the charge nationally in total OVE for 2021.
Mr Fraser said the record-breaking result provided a promising future for Queensland's post-pandemic tourism economy.
"Both Queenslanders and Australians are spending big in our state, which helps put Queensland on the map as overseas holiday-goers plan to visit Australia," he said.
"Just recently Queensland has had its best Easter period in three years - it's a real turning point for the industry and I feel very optimistic about the future of Queensland tourism.
"We're proud to be able to promote an annual platform of celebration for the industry and support the growth of tourism operators, especially now that international borders are open."
Queensland Airports Limited (QAL), which owns and operates Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports, continued its long-term presenting partnership with the Queensland Tourism Awards.
QAL CEO Chris Mills said the group's airports had almost returned to pre-COVID-19 passenger levels and its tourism partners around Queensland were experiencing similar numbers.
"You only need to walk through Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa or Longreach airport terminals to understand why there is a renewed sense of optimism and energy in the tourism industry right now," he said.
"Queensland is recovering strongly, as travellers restart their plans and confidence increases.
"I encourage Queensland tourism operators to put their Queensland Tourism Awards submissions in to celebrate the recovery that is happening across our state."
Nominations for the 2022 Queensland Tourism Awards are now open.