20 Mar 2023

Adelaide Zoo brings home gold as Australia’s Major Tourism Attraction

Adelaide Zoo has made South Australians proud by bringing home gold, as announced at the 2022 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards that took place in Sydney on Friday night.

The Australian Tourism Awards celebrate innovation and exceptional standards in tourism nationwide.

The prestigious awards that showcase the outstanding tourism businesses across Australia took place at Doltone House on Sydney’s Darling Island and revealed the national winners for 2022.

75 awards overall were presented across 25 categories, with gold, silver and bronze awarded in each category.

Overall, seven South Australian tourism operators were rewarded and placed among the nation’s best.

Federal Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell, South Australian Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison and Tourism Australia’s Managing Director Phillipa Harrison, were in attendance.

Adelaide Zoo took home the coveted gold in the Major Tourism Attraction category, recognising one of Adelaide’s most iconic attractions for its unique behind-the-scenes experiences and commitment to sustainability and conservation.

This is the first time that a South Australian tourism organisation has ever charted in the top three in the Major Tourist Attractions category.

The win comes in the same year that Adelaide Zoo will celebrate its 140th birthday.

Zoos SA is a conservation charity with more than 45,000 members. They are a long established and treasured part of the South Australian community, having shared the wonder of SA’s zoos since 1883.

Their purpose is to connect people with nature and save species from extinction with the aspiration to lead and inspire conservation action to support global biodiversity.

The Cedars Hahndorf and Woodhouse Activity Centre, both representing the Adelaide Hills region, were rewarded with silver in the Cultural Tourism and Unique Accommodation categories respectively.

Bronze medals went to Sequoia Lodge for New Tourism Business, Redwing Farm for Hosted Accommodation, Bendleby Ranges for Adventure Tourism, and Eos by SkyCity for 5 Star Luxury Accommodation.

Gold award winners from the 2022 South Australian Tourism Awards went on to represent the state at this prestigious event and went up against winners from Australia’s states and territories.

Nominations for the 2023 South Australian Tourism Awards open on Wednesday 22 March.

Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said having seven tourism operators recognised and rewarded for their hard work, their commitment, their products and the quality of their offerings on a national level is a great outcome and certainly one to be tremendously proud of.

"Tourism recovery has taken leaps and bounds in recent months and operators are reaping the rewards while we continue to see growth and record expenditure near or above pre-COVID levels within the tourism industry," Minister Bettison said.

"As we continue the journey towards recovery, our government’s main focus will be to support the tourism sector across SA showcasing the diversity of activities and experiences available from the tourism businesses operating in Adelaide and in our regions."

CEO Zoos SA, Elaine Bensted said she could not be more delighted that Adelaide Zoo has won this award and in its 140th birthday year.

"It is the first time that a South Australian tourism organisation has ever charted in the top three in the Major Tourist Attractions category, let alone actually win," Ms Bensted said.

"When people walk through the gates at Adelaide Zoo, the majority of them come in the hope that they’ll have a great day out. By the time they leave they’ve not only had that great time, but they’ve also learnt about the conservation of species and how we can all play a role in helping them. Seeing animals up close and hearing about them from their keepers creates a long-lasting connection and the desire to learn more. No matter how young or old a visitor, we have the ability to inspire action and create change.

"Since its opening in 1883, the zoo has come a long way in terms of its approach to animal welfare and conservation. Now the Zoo and sister site Monarto Safari Park, are accredited conservation hubs where breed and release programs are adding to populations of native species as well as creating insurance populations of species that are threatened in the wild.

"While the big news was Adelaide Zoo winning gold in its category, let’s not forget sister site Monarto Safari Park which was a finalist in the Tourism Attractions category. All I can say is that with the largest safari park outside of Africa to open late this year, as well as a hotel and glamping luxury resort, it can only be a matter of time before we have another trophy to add to the mantel!"

Australian Tourism Awards Chairperson, Shaun de Bruyn said this is the biggest annual celebration of tourism business excellence in Australia.

"And we have much to celebrate recognising and elevating the very best of what tourism has to offer in this great country of ours," Mr de Bruyn said.

"As an industry, we are susceptible to many external factors, which has been highlighted over the past several years, but we continue to innovate, collaborate, and come back strong.

"Many of our tourism operators are going from strength to strength, bouncing back after the worst of the pandemic."

The full list of South Australian winners and medallists from the 2022 Qantas Australian Tourism Awards are:

GOLD Adelaide Zoo - Major Tourist Attractions
SILVER The Cedars Hahndorf - Cultural Tourism
SILVER Woodhouse Activity Centre - Unique Accommodation
BRONZE Bendleby Ranges - Adventure Tourism
BRONZE Sequoia Lodge - New Tourism Business
BRONZE Redwing Farm - Hosted Accommodation
BRONZE Eos by SkyCity Adelaide - 5 Star Luxury Accommodation