Kakadu takes out top tourism award
Kakadu National Park has taken out top prize at the 2017 Australian Tourism Awards, winning gold for Major Tourist Attraction.
Kakadu Board of Management member and Jawoyn traditional owner Maria Lee accepted the award on the park’s behalf.
She said Kakadu was proud to secure gold for the Northern Territory at an exciting time for the national park.
“This award is recognition of the commitment by all traditional owners in the park, all Bininj/Mungguy, and Parks Australia, to offer our many visitors experiences they will remember for the rest of their lives,” Ms Lee said.
“We’ve all worked very hard to offer more cultural experiences and events to benefit both the industry and community. Events such as Taste of Kakadu, which launched in 2017, will be back again from 18 to 27 May this year to showcase the culture, traditional foods and amazing landscape of our great national park.”
“With the support of the Director of National Parks and the Northern Territory Government, we hope to grow this event into the future.”
Acting Director of National Parks Judy West said it was fantastic that the judges recognised World Heritage-listed Kakadu as Australia’s outstanding hallmark attraction, providing unforgettable tourism experiences through its natural and cultural beauty.
“More than 180,000 visitors, from NT locals to interstate and overseas tourists, explore the park each year,” she said. “Every Australian family should visit this extraordinary part of the country to take in its ancient rock-art galleries, fascinating wildlife, iconic birds such as the jabiru and brolga, and some of the best barramundi fishing spots in the NT.”
This award also recognises Kakadu’s place in the Northern Territory’s local economy. Parks Australia manages Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks with traditional owners. Together these parks contribute an estimated $320 million to the Territory economy annually. Both parks provide much-needed jobs and training in regions that have limited opportunities other than tourism.
Dr West said last night’s award acknowledged the efforts of Kakadu’s traditional owners, park staff and tourism businesses, who make this World Heritage-listed site a destination worth visiting.
“With operations at the Ranger uranium mine winding down, there will be tremendous opportunities to further develop Jabiru as a tourism and services hub,” she said.
“Working with the NT Government, we want to realise the full economic, cultural and social potential of the area. This award highlights Kakadu as a beloved national park as well as its importance in the region as a provider of employment and services.”