Margaret River ecotourism company Cape to Cape Explorer Tours (CCET) and its hiking accommodation hub SurfPoint Resort were stoked and honoured to each win a major gong at the 2021 Perth Airport Western Australian Tourism Awards.

Presented by the Tourism Council of WA on Saturday night, the gala event recognises the leading tourism businesses in the state.

Gold for SurfPoint Resort in accommodation category

Margaret River’s 3.5-star SurfPoint Resort won gold in the Standard Accommodation category. The CCET group operates SurfPoint Resort, ensuring hikers have quality accommodation to rest and relax after a day on the Cape to Cape Track. After winning gold, SurfPoint Resort becomes a finalist in the Australian Tourism Awards, to be held on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on March 18.

SurfPoint Resort general manager Nic Chirico said: “The team at SurfPoint Resort are truly humbled to be awarded the top honour in our accommodation category.  Our commitment to delivering guest service excellence whilst operating our hotel in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way has been validated at the highest state level.”

Many challenges overcome to claim tourism award

Nic went on to say: “We have faced many challenges during the 2020-2021 qualifying period, with the main challenge being the availability of trained hospitality staff in the region. Our team are 100% local, and 40% of those are junior staff, who were all engaged and trained to help our business cope with the demands of our peak seasons.

“We highly recommend employers in the region to engage in the current ‘control my summer job’ campaign, focused on encouraging employers to engage junior staff. Our juniors supported our adult employees during peak periods, and we’ve loved seeing them flourish and gain confidence through employment.  These skills will hopefully encourage more young people to remain in the region and make hospitality and tourism their career.”

Bronze for Cape to Cape to back up two ecotourism golds

Meanwhile, CCET won bronze in the Ecotourism category – the same category the company took out the gold medal for in 2018 and 2017 and a bronze medal in 2019. CCET specialise in hiking and nature experiences on the Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun tracks. The ecotourism award recognises ecologically sustainable tourism with a focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.

Passion for sharing the Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun tracks

CCET managing director Gene Hardy said: “Our passion is sharing the Cape to Cape and Bibbulmun tracks with our guests, who are blown away when they’re immersed in the pristine nature of WA. Ecotourism is at the very heart of what we do. The whole team pride ourselves on contributing to our local community and making a postive impact on the natural environment.”