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News Source: Sunshine Coast Sunday (12th November 2007)
by November 11, 2007
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AUSTRALIA Zoo has done it again.

For the third time, the Coast icon has taken out the state's top tourism prize - the Major Tourist Attractions Award - at the Queensland Tourism Awards 2007.

And to reflect the Coast's burgeoning status as a major tourist destination, three other venues won their respective categories, including the 2006 Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championships (Major Festivals and Events Award), Tourism Noosa (Richard Power Award for Tourism Marketing), and Yandina's Spirit House Restaurant and Cooking School (Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services Award).

Coast-based travel writer Jane E Fraser won the inaugural Special Award for Travel Writing.

And to cap it off, Spirit House was inducted into Queensland Tourism's Hall of Fame - an award that can only be bestowed on those which win their categories for three years in a row.

Tourism minister Desley Boyle praised Australia Zoo and Spirit House for their innovation and inspiration.

"Australia Zoo has become an iconic attraction that has always looked to the future by incorporating new attractions," she said. "It's a popular winner and an inspiration to everyone in the industry."

Ms Boyle said Spirit House was fully deserving of its double recognition.
"This is a rare honour and one much deserved by the Spirit House which has established an enviable reputation for innovation and excellence," she said.

Australia Zoo, which is currently gearing up for the inaugural Steve Irwin Day on November 15, has won the major tourist attraction twice before - in 2002 and 2003 - it was a finalist in 2006, and has won numerous awards in the tourism retail category in between.

The PGA and Tourism Noosa were also given special mention.

"The importance of events and festivals in building a vibrant local tourism industry is reflected in the 2006 Cadbury Schweppes Australian PGA Championships which has become one of Queensland's premier sporting events," Ms Boyle said. "And marketing is the lifeblood of tourism and Tourism Noosa's achievements in effective promotion makes the organisation a worthy winner of the Richard Power Award for Tourism Marketing."

Ms Boyle said nine Coast operators were also finalists in their categories.

All the winners will now progress to the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards to be presented in Canberra on February 29, 2008.

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