Top End reigns in Alice Springs
On Saturday night in Alice Springs, Kakadu National Park took out the top prize for tourism at the Northern Territory’s Brolga Awards, for the second year in a row.
Winning the prize for major tourism attraction means Kakadu will proudly represent the Territory at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards.
Kakadu Board of Management member and Jawoyn traditional owner Maria Lee accepted the award on the park’s behalf.
She said Kakadu won silver at the national awards last year, and were hoping to go one better this year and secure gold for the Territory.
“This Brolga 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.
“In the past few years, we’ve all worked very hard to offer more cultural experiences, like the Taste of Kakadu food festival this year, to benefit both industry and community alike.
“I’m also pleased to announce, on behalf of us all, that we’re working on our second Taste of Kakadu. Last year we offered more than 50 events over 10 days.
“This year, with the support of both the Director of National Parks and the Northern Territory Government, we hope to make it bigger and better than the first. It will be held from 18 to 27 May next year, so keep your diaries free for what should be an incredible week. Let our family feed your family!”
Director of National Parks, Sally Barnes, said judges once again recognised World-Heritage listed Kakadu as the Territory’s outstanding hallmark attraction, providing first-class tourism experiences through its natural and cultural heritage.
“Every year more than 180,000 visitors, from NT locals to interstate and overseas, flock to our park. Every Australian family should visit this wonderful part of the country, take in its ancient rock art galleries, fascinating wildlife, including its world-famous crocs, magnificent iconic birds like the jabiru and brolga, plus some of the best barramundi fishing spots in the NT. It truly has something for everyone,” she said.
This award also recognises Kakadu’s place in the Northern Territory local economy. Parks Australia manages Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta alongside their traditional owners. Together these parks contribute an estimated $320 million to the Territory economy annually.
These two iconic parks provide much-needed jobs and training in regions that have limited opportunities other than tourism. So Kakadu is not only at the heart and soul of its traditional owners, but all Territorians and Australians.
Sally Barnes said that last night’s recognition was largely due to the efforts of Kakadu traditional owners, park staff and tourism businesses who make World-Heritage listed Kakadu a destination worth spending time in.
“It’s an exciting time for the park, as we all look to further develop Jabiru as a tourism and services hub, as operations at the Ranger uranium mine next to our park are coming to an end,” she said.
The Australian and Northern Territory governments are fully committed to Jabiru’s future as a key tourism and services hub for the region.
“Together we want to realise the full economic, cultural and social potential of the area.
“This award recognises Kakadu’s important role in the future of this region – helping provide the services local people need, while showing off one of our most–loved national parks to the world,” Sally said.