FLYING HIGH – Tree-top walk wins best business prize

TOP BUSINESS: Powercor’s Robert Leary presents Otway Fly manager Elaine Burridge with the Business Excellence Award at Saturday night’s Powercor Colac Otway Business Awards.

One of Colac district’s premier tourism attractions has taken out the district’s top business award.

The Otway Fly tree-top walk won the Business Excellence Award at the Powercor Colac Otway Business Awards on Saturday night.

Businessmen and women from across the district gathered in Colac to recognise the year’s top achievers in 15 categories, including best new business, trade service and community enterprise.

Each of the winners was eligible for the top award and after picking up the Tourism Hospitality and Services Award earlier in the night, Otway Fly manager Elaine Burridge said it was an honour to hear the business called to the stage again.

“It’s so exciting and there’s a whole team of people behind this,” Ms Burridge said.

“The main people to thank are our supporters in the community, those people who visit Otway Fly because they make it successful,” she said.

“And the award helps to boost our profile in the district so hopefully even more people will visit us.”

The award kicked off a big week for Otway Fly workers as they prepare to launch their latest attraction.

Victorian Tourism and Major Events Minister Tim Holding will launch the zip-line on Wednesday.

Visitors to the Weeaproinah tree-top walk will be able to ride a flying fox through the rainforest as part of new zip-line canopy tours.

As some tourism operators in the district face declining visitor numbers, Otway Fly workers aim to boost the tourism sector with the new attraction.

“Hopefully it will not only benefit us but other businesses in the region, so people who may have stayed for a few hours will stay for a day or longer,” Ms Burridge said.

The company employed 20 new people to work on the zip-line tours.

“It just shows that there is room to grow in the business and it refreshes our product,” she said.

Ms Burridge said she raised the idea of a zip-line to her managers 14 months ago.

“It’s been an extremely quick turnaround from when I had the idea to now, and I have to thank our parent company Living and Leisure Australia for their help in making it happen, as well as Colac Otway Shire Council for their support in the planning process,” Ms Burridge said.

Colac Jetset’s Jordan Dittloff won trainee of the year and Mercy Place aged care centre’s Patricia Woodhead won employee of the year.

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