2015 Award winners

Congratulations to everyone who entered the 2015 Canberra Region Tourism Awards.

Winners and commendations were presented to:


Tourist Attractions

Winner: Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre is one of Canberra’s leading tourist attractions located on the scenic shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Questacon welcomes over 450,000 visitors annually, including more than 130,000 students from across Australia. A shop, café and over 200 exhibits located over four levels, visitors experience a world of wonder where they can immerse themselves in free-falling down a six metre slide, wrapping their minds around intriguing science concepts or challenging a robot to a game of air hockey. No visit is complete without watching, or even starring in one of our Spectacular Science Shows!

Commendation: Royal Australian Mint


Major Festivals and Events

Winner: Floriade 2014

Staged annually in Commonwealth Park over 30 days from mid-September, Floriade’s display of one million blooms makes it the largest floral festival in the southern hemisphere. Yet Floriade is so much more than a flower show. A program featuring music, culture, food and wine, workshops, markets, entertainment and five spectacular night openings makes it a truly immersive spring experience. A record attendance in 2014 provided a platform for showcasing the best of the Canberra region and delivered a $47 million economic benefit. Floriade engenders great pride in the local community and positively shapes Canberra’s identity on the national and international stage.


Festivals and Events

Winner: 2015 National Folk Festival

One of Australia’s longest running music events Canberra’s National Folk Festival boasts some of Australia’s top music acts alongside international headliners across 18 venues. The ultimate celebration of all things folk the Festival program is designed to inspire, enliven and entertain. From traditional and contemporary grooves to the quirky and the endearing it features all the key elements that make people want to come from everywhere to be part of it. Described as ‘five days in a perfect world’ the Festival’s choose your own adventure scenario allows patrons the freedom to explore and experience the Festival’s many attractions.


Specialised Tourism Services

Winner: Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport has truly surpassed the traditional definition of an airport. With world-class artwork; and award-winning design that emphasises calm, inviting, interesting spaces and landscapes, the airport reflects Canberra’s emerging reputation as the ‘capital of cool’. Only seven minutes from world-renowned cultural institutions; hip hotels and restaurants; and less than two hours from the best of natural wonders; Canberra Airport mirrors the character of Canberra and is an integral gateway for the region’s ambitions to grow and globalise.

Commendation: Australian Institute of Sport


Visitor Information Services

Winner: Yass Valley Information Centre

Yass Valley Visitor Information Centre is an accredited Level 2 Visitor Information Centre, located in Coronation Park in Yass, approximately 45 minutes from Canberra, and three hours’ from Sydney. It has been the centrepiece of Yass Valley Council’s tourism operations for over 30 years, opening in 1982 alongside what was then the Hume Highway. Today the centre’s services team includes three permanent part time Visitor Services Officers, a full time trainee and an Economic Development and Tourism Manager. Over 436,000 people now visit Yass Valley region annually, with the Visitor Centre welcoming over 25,000 people each year.


Tour and Transport Operators

Commendation: Canberra Region Premium Tours


Unique Accommodation

Commendation: Yarrangobilly Caves House


Standard Accommodation

Winner: Bush Capital Lodge

YMCA of Canberra currently operates a successful group accommodation business in the ACT. The Bush Capital Lodge is located at 191 Dryandra Street, O’Connor and is Canberra’s only specialty group tourism accommodation business, catering to school, sporting and special needs groups, visiting the ACT. The Bush Capital Lodge consists of two separate accommodation blocks with 234 beds, a 95 seat dining room and 4 separate bus driver rooms. The Bush Capital Lodge provides catering for three meals per day for groups as part of a package rate, plus morning and afternoon tea.


Luxury Accommodation

Winner: Hotel Realm

The AAA rated 5 Star Hotel Realm in Canberra, provides a holistic approach to luxury accommodation and guest experience. Part of the award-winning Realm Precinct, the Hotel is a resort style destination, which actively contributes to the local hospitality, accommodation and tourism sector. Diverse onsite facilities are complemented by a key location on National Circuit, close to the Parliamentary Triangle and within walking distance to iconic national attractions. With 161 rooms and two penthouse suites, Hotel Realm provides unparalleled premium accommodation experiences to its guests in heart of the nation’s capital.


New Tourism Business

Winner: Avenue Hotel

Avenue Hotel is Canberra’s newest hotel in the heart of the city and makes up the fourth and most luxurious property in the Capital Hotel Group. Ideally located in the city centre, adjacent to the Braddon dining and shopping district, the Avenue has everything you need right at your doorstep. All 213 rooms are spacious and well-appointed with modern furnishings and fittings. Spread across two towers, guests can choose to stay in one of our comfortable hotel rooms, indulge in one of our luxurious Spa Suites or fully self-contained one and two bedroom apartments.


Qantas Award for Excellence in Sustainable Tourism

Winner: IHG ACT – Crowne Plaza Canberra & National Convention Centre Canberra

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) operates more than 4700 hotels across nearly 100 countries around the world and is committed to sustainable and responsible business practice. IHG has two premises in Canberra – Crowne Plaza Canberra and the National Convention Centre Canberra. This commitment to responsible business is a core part of our business strategy and operations, focusing in areas where we passionately believe we can make the most difference to people’s lives: the environment, the community and our people. Every day IHG ACT manages the business and makes decisions according to this responsible business framework.


Tourism Visitor Education

Winner: National Electoral Education Centre

The National Electoral Education Centre is a key component of the Australian Electoral Commission’s objective to achieve ‘informed Australians through the provision of information services on electoral matters.’ Located in the Senate Wing of Old Parliament House, the National Electoral Education Centre attracted 90,982 visitor participants during the 2014-15 financial year. The overwhelming majority of these visitors were interstate students travelling to Canberra to experience their national capital and further their understanding of Australia’s democratic system of government.


Outstanding Contribution by an Individual

Winner: Jonathan Kobus

Jonathan was the Deputy Director, and prior to that the Product and Industry Development Manager, at VisitCanberra before moving on earlier this year to the position of Senior Manager at Invest Canberra.

Over the past decade, Jonathan’s contribution to the ACT tourism industry has been widespread, including the development of the ACT Government’s 2020 Tourism Strategy, the forging of stronger connections between the National Capital Attractions Association and VisitCanberra, representing the ACT on the board of regional tourism bodies, managing grants programs and not to mention driving the Canberra Region Tourism Awards program.


Young Achiever Award

Winner: Sunil Choudhary

Sunil Choudhary is Senior Guest Experience Manager at Crowne Plaza Canberra. Sunil joined the hotel March 14, 2014. He has significantly contributed to the ongoing success of the hotel through his commitment to improving the guest experience and his strong leadership which has inspired his team to raise guest service standards. Sunil’s achievements include high staff engagement, improved guest satisfaction, manager of the year for the hotel in 2014 and AHA ACT Front Office Employee 2015.

Commendation: Will Lloyd and Caitlin Taylor


Visitor Experience Award

Winner: Four Winds Vineyard

Four Winds Vineyard’s cellar door is a contemporary, family run business making premium wines in the Canberra District. The team aim to create a welcoming atmosphere where guests can enjoy award-winning wine and wood-fired pizza over-looking the vineyard.


View the results of the Tourism Awards from 2000 to 2015.