ACT News

NGA crowned Canberra's best major tourist attraction

The National Gallery of Australia has been crowned Major Tourist Attraction at the 2014 Canberra and Capital Region Tourism Awards.

It was one of two awards for the gallery announced at the Canberra Theatre Centre Wednesday night, with outgoing NGA director Ron Radford AM earning the Outstanding Contribution by an Individual gong. 

The awards celebrate the diversity of Canberra region tourism. The industry makes $1.8 billion each year and employs more than 17,000 Canberrans.

Questacon won the Tourist Attraction award.

The National Library of Australia topped the Major Festivals and Events with the Mapping our World: Terra Incognita display, while this year's National Folk Festival took out the Festivals and Events category. 

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve received the Ecotourism award; Canberra Airport won the Specialised Tourism Services award; and Canberra Institute of Technology snagged the Tourism Education and Training award. 

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A number of Canberra hotels were also recognised including Hotel Realm in the Luxury Accommodation category, Hotel Hotel for New Tourism Development and Novotel Canberra with the Qantas Award for Sustainable Tourism.

Yass Valley Council won the Local Government Award for Tourism, while the Capital Region Farmers Market  was recognised with an Excellence in Food Tourism award. 

Megan Rodd and Laura Raine are joint winners of the Young Achiever Award, while a Visitor Experience Award trifecta recognised Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Four Winds Vineyard and Bungendore Wood Works Gallery.

Minister for Tourism and Events Andrew Barr congratulated the award winners and said a partnership with the National Capital Attractions Association has seen a sharp increase in the number of entrants. 

"The awards give tourism industry members a vehicle to promote and reward tourism operators while also providing significant support to continue to grow their businesses," he said. 

"A vibrant tourism sector is essential as we aim to reach our target to grow overnight tourism expenditure in the ACT to $2.5 million by 2020."

The winners will represent the Canberra and Capital Region at the Australian Tourism Awards in Adelaide in April.

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