The best performers in the Australasian cruise industry have been recognised for their contribution to the booming cruise market at the International Cruise Council Australasia’s 2011 awards dinner.

Fifteen awards across seven categories were presented to the industry’s top travel consultants and agencies at a gala event held at the Hilton in Sydney on Saturday night (February 11, 2012).

Cruise Council Chairman Gavin Smith said the awards paid tribute to the substantial contribution of travel agents in the ongoing growth of the local cruise market.

“The local cruise industry is expanding rapidly and the travel agent community has played a key role in this growth,” Mr Smith said.

For the second consecutive year, the top Australian Cruise Agency of the Year award went to Bicton Travel from WA, while silver was awarded to Cruiseabout Turramurra (NSW) and Phil Hoffmann Travel Glenelg (SA) picked up bronze.

A man who has regularly stepped up to the award podium for his ongoing commitment to the industry, Phil Hoffmann, was awarded the Neil Frazer Award for an Outstanding Contribution by an Individual.

Accepting his award to a standing ovation, Mr Hoffmann said he enjoyed giving to the industry and thanked his team for being a constant source of inspiration.

"It's been a great journey and I've enjoyed every minute of it," he said.

"We're so lucky as an industry to have so many great companies bringing out great products yearly. Every week I fall in love with a new cruise and want to go on one. I still love it as much as the day I started and hope to love it for another 20 years."

Other Australian category award winners included:

•  Cruise Consultant of the Year – Roland Kautzky: Cruiseabout, Port Melbourne VIC

•  Agency Promotion of the Year – Just Cruises, Brisbane QLD for “Cruise Sale Week”

•  Rising Star Award – Jamii-Lee Alpen: Ozcruising, Phillip ACT

Mr Smith said the winners should all be proud to have been recognised by cruise lines.

“As the competition for these annual awards grows each year and as we’re in the midst of a record cruise season, we expect next year will be even bigger,” Mr Smith said.

Hosted by television presenter Lisa Wilkinson, more than 420 guests attended the night, officially the biggest cruise industry awards night to date.

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