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Regions sweep nominations

MORE than 70 per cent of the finalists in this year’s WA Tourism Awards for Excellence are from the regions, with the Kimberley and South West providing 50 per cent.

Incorporating the inaugural FACET Golden Guide Award and the Sir David Brand Award and medals, the 1999 WA Tourism Awards winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 11 June at Burswood Showroom.

The South West swept up 25 finalist spots with past winners Gloucester Ridge Winery, Cave Works, Kerriley Park Farm, Fine Woodcraft Gallery, Cape Naturaliste Tourism Assoc-iation and Taunton Farm Caravan Park vying for further recognition.

The Kimberley has produced 24 finalists, including six for the Sir David Brand Award and two nominees for the Sir David Brand Medal. 1998 winners Slingair, Kimberley Wilderness Tours, El Questro, Eco Beach and Kooljaman at Cape Leveque are again finalists.

Other regional finalists include Vancouver House in Albany, Kulin Races, Lancelin Lodge and Port Hedland Heritage Group.

Metropolitan finalists include Perth Zoo, Emerald Hotel, Burswood Park Board, All Seasons Observation Rise, Rendezvous Observation City, the WA Tourist Centre and Joondalup Resort.

The FACET Golden Guide Award finalists are tour guides Helen Lee, Steve McGrath and Kevin Coate.

Tourism Council Australia chairman of the awards committee Kevin Harrison said the success of the regions reflected their progressive approach to tourism.

“WA has world-recognised tourism product and services everywhere you go,” he said.

“That many of these have been developed in the remote, and often harsh, Australian landscape, in geographically difficult areas, is a tribute to the Aussie spirit and professionalism of the operators and their regional tourism associations.”

Tourism Council of Australia WA president Laurie O’Meara said the WA Tourism Awards had evolved to reflect the diversity and standards of excellence in the industry.

“Their value is also seen in the support we receive from sponsors like Fleetwood, who have been there since the beginning in 1972, and Westralian Airports Corporation, who I am delighted to welcome as our new major sponsor,” he said.

“The level of their commitment is a huge fillip to the industry.”

WA Tourism Award winners will automatically go forward to the finals of the Australian Tourism Awards to be announced in Melbourne on 5 November.

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