Australian Tourism Awards 2022
Canberra stands tall! Jamala Wildlife Lodge and the National Zoo and Aquarium the big winners!
At the Australian Tourism Awards in Sydney on Friday night, Canberra’s Jamala Wildlife Lodge and the National Zoo and Aquarium added to their extensive collection of local, national and international awards.
Jamala became the first entrant from Canberra to win Gold at the National Awards since 2018, winning the Unique Accommodation category.
The National Zoo and Aquarium won Silver in the biggest category of the night, the Major Tourist Attraction. General Manager of the zoo, Paul Whitehorn acknowledged the achievement “We were incredibly proud that we recently won the Best Major Attraction at the Canberra awards, as the city has so many world-class attractions.”
“To go on and win Silver against the best Australia has to offer is a huge achievement and recognition of the dedication and commitment of our staff. It reflects on the level of care and compassion that our zookeepers provide to our animals, along with the passion of our tour and encounter guides in helping visitors understand how they can help animals in the wild.”
“Staff in all areas of the zoo have contributed to this and their efforts have led to our membership increasing 5-fold in the last few years. The positive feedback that we get about the presentation of the zoo and its gardens and of the friendly staff in every area of the facility bears testament to their commitment” Paul added.
He said that the most common comments from visitors related to the large enclosures, the health of the animals, the beautifully maintained gardens and the unrivalled kids’ playground, AdVentureLand. “Apart from seeing our magnificent animals and having a great time, visitors are learning about how they can help to ensure that future generations take better care of the planet than current and past generations have. Attitudes and efforts have improved dramatically in some areas, but we still have a long way to go to protect our wildlife” Paul said.
The General Manager of Jamala Wildlife Lodge, Amanda Mead, expressed similar comments about her staff and referred to the incredibly positive feedback about the staff and the overall experience received from guests.
“The fact that Jamala is nearly always full and that so many guests return, usually for an even longer stay, is evidence of their level of enjoyment. Their interaction with the animals, what they learn about them and about conservation in the wild has a significant impact on virtually all guests.
Apart from having one to five days of luxury, adventure and excitement, most go away with a new perspective on how they can contribute to the animal kingdom. If that isn’t enough, they also get to experience why Jamala also won Best Restaurant at the recent Canberra Tourism Awards” Amanda added.
All Jamala rooms, along with dining and lounge areas are furnished and decorated with African themes, including many artworks and artefacts from throughout that continent. “We have had so many current or past residents of Africa stay here and almost invariably they comment on how the accommodation transported them back there. They tell other guests that Jamala is such a great opportunity for Australian residents to experience Africa in their own backyard.” Amanda said.
Most proceeds from Jamala and the zoo go towards looking after the zoo’s animals, its future development, education programs, animal breeding programs, conservation in the wild, animal welfare agencies and assisting local and national charities, causes and those in need.