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Questacon, National Museum among Canberra region tourism's stellar performers in 2016

It is the place thousands of children from all over the country go every year to learn, through interactive games and educational shows, about science and technology.

And on Friday, at the ACT tourism industry's night of nights, Questacon was among the winners celebrated by almost 350 industry figures at the glittering Canberra Region Tourism Awards overlooking the city at the National Arboretum.

The National Science and Technology Centre took out the Tourist Attraction award for 2016, while organisers of the outstanding Encounters exhibition at the National Museum of Australia went home with the Major Festivals and Events award,

National Capital Attractions Association president Craig Whelan said the well-deserved winners at this years' awards were indicative of the region's ongoing efforts to offer visitors "unparalleled tourism experiences and services".

"This is a pivotal point for Canberra's major attractions and key businesses of the region as the city further engages broader international audiences and in doing so, heightens our reputation for tourism excellence on the international stage," he said.

Among the other winners were the 2016 National Folk Festival, for festivals and events, Jamala Wildlife Lodge, for "unique accommodation"; Canberra Airport for "specialised tourism services" and the Canberra Institute of Technology for tourism education and training.

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Professor Graham Durant AM, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the industry, while Kate Landford at Questacon won the Markus Gibson-Huck Young Achiever Award, and Leon Yogaraj received a commendation for his work at Doma Hotels.

One of the biggest winners on the night was the Royal Australian Mint, which took out the gongs for cultural tourism, tourism visitor education and the visitor experience award.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr congratulated all this year's entrants, whom he described as continuing to "strive for excellence and innovation".

"A growing tourism sector is essential to the visitor economy, helping to reach our target to grow overnight tourism expenditure in the ACT to $2.5 billion by 2020," he said.

A new award for "international-ready" tourism ventures was also given out on the night, a sign of a maturing industry as international flights in and out of the capital grow.

The Australian Sports Commission's "Experience AIS" took out the award for its first-class offering and marketing of events and experiences at the Australian Institute of Sport's Bruce campus.