RUNNER-UP: Holli Sihlberg receives Runner-Up in Tourism at the QTIC Salute to Excellence Awards, presented by Steve Koch, Department of Education, Training and Employment.
RUNNER-UP: Holli Sihlberg receives Runner-Up in Tourism at the QTIC Salute to Excellence Awards, presented by Steve Koch, Department of Education, Training and Employment. Contributed

Holli is one step closer to dream job as a cruise director

DREAMS of working as a cruise director are one step closer for Emerald student Holli Sihlberg after competing for a prestigious title.

The Year 12 Marist College Emerald student has been judged the runner-up of the Tourism category at the Queensland Tourism Industry Council's Salute to Excellence Awards.

Holli said she was grateful to be given the opportunity to compete and was excited by the outcome.

"I was ecstatic when they announced me as runner-up in the tourism category, and I was really shocked,” she said.

"The experience has been really full on, but so exciting and an amazing opportunity.

"I enjoyed meeting so many people passionate about the tourism industry, both students and judges.”

The Salute to Excellence Awards fosters and encourages students to follow their passion and that is exactly what Holli is doing.

She said she entered this competition to open up new possibilities for her career.

"I live in Central Queensland, so I don't have as many opportunities for tourism, so when my school's RTO (Registered Training Organisation) manager told me about this competition I jumped at the chance,” she said.

"I really hope to begin working in the tourism industry right after I graduate as a co-ordinator on a cruise, or events co-ordinator.”

Holli said she loved tourism because of all the different opportunities there were within the industry.

"I also love working with people,” she said.

"Working in the industry opens me up to so many jobs, and means I could possibly travel the world with a job in an industry I love.”

Her message to those thinking about entering the Salute to Excellence awards in the future was to not say no.

"Any opportunities that come up just say yes, you don't know what opportunities like this could open up for your career later,” she said.

This year another successful event was held with more nominations and more schools involved than before.

QTIC chief executive Daniel Gschwind was pleased with the competition and the positive impact it had on the tourism and hospitality industry.

"Salute to Excellence is all about encouraging more people to look at our industry as a career choice and rewarding those Year 11 and 12 students and to also inspire others to follow in their footsteps,” Mr Gschwind said.

The Salute to Excellence Awards had 21 finalists come together from across the state to compete for the winning title in three categories: Food and Beverage, Tourism and Cookery.

The awards were judged by the best professionals in the industry.

List of Winners

Tourism winner: Molly Dobbins, Albany Creek State School

Tourism runner-up: Holli Sihlberg, Marist College Emerald

Cookery winner: Mackenzie Treloar, Helensvale State High School

Cookery runner-up: Ethan Hobbs, Helensvale State High School

Food and Beverage winner: Zara Cannon, Kelvin Grove State College.

Food and Beverage runner-up: Laetitia Sanderson, St Andrews Lutheran College