Tourism Whitsundays, Queensland Australia, Whitsundays Holidays - Tourism Whitsundays QLD - 2019 Whitsunday Tourism Awards Judging Panel
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Judging Panel


Allan Milostic - Whitsundays Chamber of Commerce & Livelife Pharmacy Airlie Beach


Denny-Lyn Dixon - Hamilton Island Enterprises


Johnny Gaskell - Daydream Island Resort - Living Reef Manager

Johnny Gaskell is an experienced marine biologist with expertise in Australian marine life and marine education.

I have a Bachelor degree in Marine Biology and have authored two books and an iPhone App detailing the marine life found in both temperate and tropical Australia.

 As a dive master, I have conduction countless exploration dives throughout Australia’s coastline. My number one favourite place to explore is the Hard-line Reefs south-east of the Whitsundays where a network of Blue Holes and incredible reef formations can be found.

 I joined the Living Reef team on Daydream Island in 2014 and lead the team that created the new Living Reef Observatory and reef lagoon where visitors can now fully immerse into the water on snorkel tours.

 In 2018/2019, after my Instagram page got a few hits, I was selected to be one of the Ambassadors for Tourism Queensland.

 I have been in the Whitsundays now for over 5 years and have constantly been amazed by the underwater exploring that this region has to offer. Each day there is a new island with a new reef to explorer where marine life interactions surprise me every time.

My mission for the past two years has been to explore all of the 74 Whitsunday Islands underwater to get the full perspective of what marine life lives throughout. I’m up to 51…


Karen Vloedmans - Proserpine Chamber of Commerce

Karen has held her position with the Proserpine Chamber of Commerce for the past 2 years growing that organisations membership to over 100 business members, representing small business owners. With a background in the Tourism sector, a position as a Tourism Awards Judge is a wonderful fit.

With positions previously held in other tourism hotspots, largely in 5 star hotels in destinations including Sydney, Cairns, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Noosa and here in the Whitsundays, Karen understands what visitors are looking for in both a corporate and leisure experience. In addition to Tourism, Karen also has experience in the Recruitment and Retail sectors.

Growing up in the regional town of the Hawkesbury in NSW around agriculture and small business, then working around the country and off shore, 14 years ago Karen made the Whitsundays her home. Happily married and blessed with two wonderful children Karen describes Whitsunday living as the stuff postcards are made of.

Leonie Arthur - Bendigo Bank Cannonvale and Proserpine

My husband and I have owned land in the Whitsundays since 1990  and relocated to the region after building our home in 2013.


We travelled the east coast on many occasions, with our four children, taking in the delights of our country, especially here in the Whitsundays. We actually honeymooned on Brampton Island and made the decision to move here.


I have been employed in the banking industry since 1985  and have been with the Bendigo bank for the past 15 years.


As the Customer Relationships Manager and the main lender of the branch, I have a passion for assisting my customers to achieve their financial goals.


Margie Ryder - Townsville City Councillor and Madmaggies Outback Event Promotions

Margie Ryder, commonly known as “Mad Maggie”, is what some call the little pocket Dynamo. Margie cut her teeth in events management as a committee member for the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival. Managing pubs, running an engineering business and looking after small children meant that there was not a great deal of ‘me’ time for Margie early on in her career. She was forced to learn ‘on the job’ and quickly learned that she was not immune to making mistakes. Margie saw this as an opportunity to surround herself with people and organisations that she could learn from and grow. Finally, at the age of 40, Margie achieved a Diploma in Front Line Management, which has aided her to grow several businesses, events and community organisations from strength to strength.

Margie’s sometimes unconventional way of networking and securing sponsorships has worked in her favour, but her passion for the volunteer sector is what drives her. Without volunteers, NOTHING happens.
In addition to previously organising the McDonald’s® Townsville Running Festival for 6 years, Margie business Madmaggies Outback Promotions does the Event Management for the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival, Townsville Fishing and Outdoor Expo and her own event Townsville Rock Fest. Under Margie’s stewardship, the Julia Creek Dirt n Dust Festival was awarded Queensland’s Best Festival/ Event at the Tourism Queensland Awards and was also Highly Commended at the Australian Tourism Awards in 2011.

Before becoming a full-time event manager, Margie spent more than 10 years as a councillor in Julia Creek, and numerous years as a volunteer in various roles, in addition to overseeing the HR and finance arm of her family engineering business, Rydweld, which now employs 40 people in Townsville.

Margie is passionate about Tourism, Events, Volunteers and North Queensland and is so excited for life's new ventures! 


Melanie Anderson - Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development and the Commonwealth Games


Melanie is a dynamic, highly motivated proven leader with almost 20 years of experience in leadership roles, the last 15 years in public sector within economic development at a senior executive level.


Melanie in her current role leads the Tourism Industry Development Branch, within the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development, which assists industry to create new tourism infrastructure and boost the sector’s revenue and sustainability.   The team increases investment in tourism product, improves transport access and connectivity within Queensland, and enters into partnerships to support tourism development. As GM Industry Development Melanie leads three units including Tourism Investment Attraction, Tourism Infrastructure Development and the Growing Tourism and Outback grant funds. Melanie has had extensive experience working with industry and stakeholders in the Whitsundays region leading the Whitsunday Tourism Recovery Fund project. Melanie established a local working group to develop new tourism products for the region including the development of new National Park walks including Hill Inlet Lookout, Langford Is, Border Is and Haslewood Is. Other projects include Peter Faust Dam and Flagstaff Hill new tourism developments, Underwater art at Langford Bird Reef and lead a process whereby local tourism operators could apply for up to $2M in grant funding.


Melanie has also worked closely with the Whitsundays significant investors such as CCIG on progressing the redevelopment of Daydream Island and will do so again with South Molle. Melanie is a passionate advocate for the region and is committed to assisting the tourism industry to achieve success.  



Tas Webber - Mackay Tourism


Tiffany McKinnon - Queensland Weekender


Tiffany McKinnon is the Series Producer for Channel Seven’s Queensland Weekender – a popular lifestyle and travel program that has been on air for the past 17 years.  For 10 of those years, Tiffany has worked on the show - travelling the state to share the best of its tourist attractions, experiences and characters.  Her favourite Whitsunday experience is sunset drinks at Langford Island Spit.





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