One of the winners of the 2017 Whitsundays Tourism Award has rejected the prize on the basis it had been sponsored by the Adani mining magnates.
Lindsay Simpson, whose company Providence Sailing won a tour and transport operators’ prize, told The Guardian that her company decided to decline the prize after doing some “serious thinking” and coming to the conclusion they did not want to be associated with a company that was “singlehandedly destroying everything that we stand for”.
“We’d been overseas in Europe and we actually had our skipper go and collect the award as our representative, in good faith,” Simpson told The Guardian. “We heard then that Adani was sponsoring it, so we did some serious thinking. We came to the decision that we don’t want their award, if that’s who they’ve got sponsoring it.
“We thought, if we don’t say something, it’s going to be accepted that someone who’s singlehandedly destroying everything that we stand for is going to be backing tourism awards, which is just laughable.”
A second winner at the 2017 Whitsundays Tourism Award had a similar reaction to the ill-advised sponsorship, threatening to cut ties with the awards body altogether unless they removed any association with Adani, while other winners expressed their bafflement at the choice of sponsor.
According to The Guardian, Adani paid a modest $2,000 to be a second-tier sponsor at the awards program.
The Whitsundays Tourism Awards is an annual awards program run by Queensland’s peak tourism body, established to “pay tribute to the enormous contribution made by the region’s tourism operators and service providers to encourage excellence within the industry”. It is unclear at this stage whether the organisation will be cutting their ties with Adani in the face of the backlash.