Cruise operator takes outprestigious tourism award 

Cruise operator takes outprestigious tourism award 
Brendan Rees

A Yarra River tour operator and self-drive boat hire business in Docklands has taken out a Victoria Tourism award, recognising its resilience in the face of COVID-19. 

Melbourne Boat Hire won the City of Melbourne Innovation and Resilience Award, with owner Matt Gannon saying his team was delighted by the honour.  

“It’s a good surprise,” he said of the inaugural award which was introduced after the Victoria Tourism Industry Council [VTIC] partnered with the City of Melbourne to recognise the resilience of the tourism sector during the past year. 

Mr Gannon said it had been a tough two years for his business and was still experiencing up to three or four cancellations a week due to the Omicron wave. 

“It’s been a challenge, we’re not out of the woods just yet unfortunately,” he said, but added he hoped the return of international tourists wasn’t far away. 

“We pivoted a few times throughout the last two years, which was a challenge. We started doing a lot of commercial work, a lot of bridge inspections with a vessel and then we set up a floating coffee cart at the Botanical Gardens.” 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said tourism was key to the city’s economic and cultural revival. 

“These awards will be recognition for the tourism operators that have continued to show excellence and innovation throughout the toughest period the industry has faced in modern times,” Cr Capp said. 

“We are honoured to be able to present an inaugural award to showcase the resilience of tourism operators in Melbourne and regional Victoria, recognising their determination and tenacity.” 

VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said the tourism awards celebrated hard work and dedication in creating quality tourism experiences, but added “more than any other state, Victoria can say, this year, we have written the playbook on resilience following the impacts of six rolling lockdowns in our state”.

There were 31 categories within the tourism awards in Victoria, including 28 business categories and three that recognise individual achievements •


Picture: Melbourne Boat Hire. Photo supplied.  

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