Daintree EcoLodge named the world's best
THE Daintree EcoLodge and Spa north of Cairns has been judged the world's leading eco resort and spa at the 2012 World Travel Awards.The leisure business won over the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru (Maldives), Rogner-Bad Blumau (Austria) and Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood (Thailand).
Co-owner Terry Maloney said he was "stunned" by the award, which he described as the pinnacle of their many awards in the past 18 years.
"To be named as best in the world is amazing," he said.
Mr Maloney said it would place a global focus on Far North Queensland as a leading tourism destination.
"The EcoLodge has many imitators but no equals. This is clearly shown by winning at this year's prestigious World Travel Awards," he said.
"This is the biggest travel event in the global tourism industry. It takes 10 months to judge the country, region and finally the best of the best in the world. This is a huge opportunity for Australia, Queensland and our region to be in the world travel spotlight."
Co-owner Cathy Maloney said to be a winner in the "best of the best" world categories was "humbling".
"However, it is also testament to the growing appreciation of experience travel," she said.
"Everyone who stays and participates in the unique experiences is helping employ Aboriginal people and diminishing their dependence on welfare.
"Its small physical footprint of land, buildings, staff and guests already has a huge impact on the preservation of ancient culture, conservation of ancient rainforest and the empowerment of indigenous people. A true example of people, planet and profit."
General managers Michael and Kim Veal said the competition was fierce.
"There are so many already existing and new high class resorts, hotels and spas opening up every year in exotic locations. To be on the top of these, considering the global competition, is a huge accomplishment," they said.
Mr Maloney said the award would help them in the next step of the eco lodge's development.
He said the property had been withdrawn from the market and they were considering a joint venture for expansion and diversification.
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World-best: Daintree EcoLodge and Spa general managers Michael and Kim Veal. Picture: ANNA ROGERS.