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Tourism excellence lauded

THE TOURISM industry’s ‘Oscar’ night, the 2000 WA Tourism Awards for Excellence, will be held on 16 June.

First time entrant The Perth Mint has been judged a finalist in three categories, while the Kimberley region again has a huge presence with all four finalists in the Sir David Brand Award and a further twelve finalists in other categories from the region.

The south west region is again strongly represented with fourteen finalists from Dunsborough to Walpole.

The awards are organised by the Tourism Council of Australia. Awards chairman Kevin Harrison said 50 per cent of finalists were first time entrants.

Lilac Hill Festival, Swan Valley Wagon Trails, Shotover Monkey Mia, North Star Charters and Pump Hill Farm Cottages are making their WATC awards debut.

“The commitment of established operators is very evident,” Mr Harrison said.

“For example, last year’s cyclone devastated areas, Exmouth and Coral Bay, showed how they had overcome their problems by making an entrance into this year’s awards with five finalists including the Exmouth Tourist Bureau, Sea Breeze Resort, Ningaloo Reef Resort and Neil McLeod of Ninga-loo Safari Tours.

“Eco Beach Resort, which was literally blown away by Cyclone Rosita just a few weeks ago, is again a finalist in both the environmental tourism category and in the Sir David Brand Award.

“It joins previous multi-winners, Slingair Heliwork and El Questro, and former finalist, Kimberley Wilderness Tours,” he said.

In the tourism wineries category, last year’s State and National winner Leeuwin Estate is again a finalist.

First time entrant Flutes of Brookland Valley and 1998/99 winner Gloucester Ridge Winery and Café Restaurant are fighting it out for the tourism restaurant award.

In the major tourism attractions category, Perth Zoo is again a finalist and is up against Burswood International Resort Casino and Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.

Mr Harrison said the media had a major role to play in attracting visitors to WA.

“Channel 9 (Postcards WA and Just Add Water) and Channel 7 (Our WA) are both finalists in the media category with BAC Productions, who have been in the Hall of Fame for winning the category three times previously,” he said.

More than 800 people are expected to attend the awards to be held at the Burswood Theatre.

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