Whale watchers scoop Coast Tourism Awards gong

WINNER: John Matterson's business Whale One has won the Sunshine Coast Tourism Award for best tour operation 2016.
WINNER: John Matterson's business Whale One has won the Sunshine Coast Tourism Award for best tour operation 2016.

WHALE watching season has come to an end but the fun hasn't stopped for Whale One.

The Mooloolaba-based business took out the Sunshine Coast Business and Tourism Awards' Tours category this year, after five years with owner John Matterson at the helm.

It's just the second time Whale One has been nominated for a Sunshine Coast Business Award, which introduced its new tourism section this year.

Whale One's Juanita Matterson said she, husband John and their passionate team of marine life enthusiasts were delighted at the honour.

John bought the business from Australia Zoo's Terri Irwin in 2011, and expanded it to operate charters, cruises and a range of other services including the tender service that brings cruise ship passengers to shore, Juanita said.

Originally from Tathra on the south coast of New South Wales, John's acquisition of the business satisfied a life-long dream, Juanita said.

"John has been in the whale watching industry for 30 years now and before that on fishing boats, so he knows the sea and migration very well," she said.

Whale One always found whales - in fact they offer a money-back guarantee on every trip, which is why they only run in the peak of the season and wrapped up tours earlier this month.

Juanita said Whale One's staff had "amazing" jobs.

"You have 80-year-old people and three-year-old children coming in telling you about their experince," she said.

"It's just so invigorating, sharing this beautiful nature base we have around this area."

Juanita said the award process was worthwhile for the recognition the business now receives, but also because of the process itself.

"I would definitely recommend it," she said. "It gives you insight into your business - makes you sit down and analyse key indicators: customer feedback, networking, your marketing strategies and right down to who you put on your boats."

Topics:  business awards 2016 sunshine coast business and tourism awards things to do whale one whale watching

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