As we move into 2017 with a fresh perspective and renewed vision, it is also a good time to reflect on the year that was. For Abell Point Marina, 2016 was an incredible year of development and achievements. As well as the ongoing development of the marina facilities and amenities, the roll out of the Year of the VIB (Very Important Boatie) and the introduction of our famed Blue Carpet Treatment, 2016 has seen some significant milestones for Abell Point Marina.
In January we hosted the rest leg of the 2015/2016 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, bringing visitors and media from around the globe to the Whitsunday region. With global media exposure, this event was not only a huge success for the marina itself but also the operators and business owners of the Whitsunday region who all benefited from increased occupancy in a traditionally quiet time of year.
In February, we officially launched our new function venue, Lure, which was developed to cater for the ever-increasing wedding and business events markets in the region. Offering a contemporary, multi-functional venue space, 2016 saw Lure host of a range of events including the inaugural Celebrity Chef Feast, which due to its popularity is set to return in 2017.
March saw the commencement of works by the marina to rejuvenate the adjacent Shingley Beach precinct, a publicly owned asset which was privately upgraded for the community by the marina. We cleared the shoreline of noxious weed which was inhibiting the growth of the native fauna and trucked in sand to regenerate the beach area for the community to enjoy. In April, we commenced the build of the second helicopter pad on the marina rock wall, which was completed after just a few short weeks.
In May, we welcomed new tenant to the South village Airlie Adventure Central, a booking agent offering a range of adventure based products throughout the Whitsunday region. Additional tenants, Whitsunday Seafood Company and R Marine Crawley opened in the South village in August, with R Marine Crawley bringing the prestige of Riviera yacht sales and vessel management to the marina and the Whitsunday region.
July and August brought another busy cruising season with the excitement around Airlie Beach Race Week, Hamilton Island Race Week and the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club (SICYC) Rendezvous had the marina operating at maximum occupancy. We once again had the pleasure of being major sponsor for the SICYC Rendezvous for the 3rd consecutive year, which brought together over 200 vessels in the Whitsundays and consequently over $100,000 was raised for the Prostate Cancer Council of Australia
In September, we became the first marina in the world to attain the 5 Gold Anchor Global Marina Accreditation under the new scheme. In a presentation ceremony, Colin Bransgrove CEO of the Marina Industries Association paid tribute to the customer service focus of the marina and its achievements in developing a destination marina attracting both domestic and international customers to the region.
Moving into October, we backed up our 5 Gold Anchor accolade with a Gold Tourism Award for Major Tourism Attraction in the 2016 Whitsunday Tourism Awards. This was the first time we entered the Tourism Awards and the win was significant in recognising the role the marina plays in driving tourism to the Whitsunday region..
In November we successfully launched our Abell Point Marina eConcierge app, which was designed to provide our marina guests with a wealth of marina and local information at their finger tips.
Rounding off 2016 with some incredible weather, when the southern states we not so lucky on that front, it has been a great year for the marina team and also the wider Whitsunday region. 2017 is forecast to be another incredible year of achievements, so watch this space!