Healesville Sanctuary wins Gold, twice!

Healesville Sanctuary recently won the Gold Award at the Victorian Tourism Awards on Thursday 30 November. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Dongyun Kwon

Healesville Sanctuary recently won the Gold Award for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Experiences at the Victorian Tourism Awards.

The Victorian Tourism Awards, hosted annually by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC), honours business excellence and performance within the industry.

The Awards encourage businesses to meet and exceed industry standards and play an integral role in acknowledging business excellence together with outstanding innovation, industry professionalism and collaboration.

Healesville Sanctuary director Ross Williamson said he was thrilled that Healesville Sanctuary has been recognised for a second year in a row at the VTIC’s annual Awards.

“It is an honour to be acknowledged for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism Experiences award and it is my hope to continue to provide opportunities to connect our visitors with Wurundjeri Culture,” he said.

“It’s great recognition for what we have built at Healesville Sanctuary over many decades, and we will continue to work with First Peoples into the future.”

The Victorian Tourism Awards recognise winners in 28 categories and three individual excellence categories.

Winners and finalists of the Victorian Tourism Awards are determined by achieving a score of 70 per cent or above.

The winner is the highest-scoring entrant in each category.

Hall of Fame is awarded to an entrant that has won the same category over three consecutive years and the Highly Commended recognition is given to finalists that have not won an award but scored over 80 per cent.

Healesville Sanctuary became the Gold Award winner for its dedication to connecting Wurundjeri Country and Culture with its beautiful bushland setting with Indigenous plants.

Mr Williamson said he’d like to extend his gratitude to Wurundjeri elder Murrundindi for sharing his culture with the Sanctuary.

“He started a conversation that allowed for deeper understanding and appreciation of culture,” he said.

“Thank you to our events and tourism coordinator Donna Paterson for her efforts to make the awards submission and to everyone at Healesville Sanctuary who works to recognise Wurundjeri Culture.”

VTIC chief executive Felicia Mariani said Healesville Sanctuary has received entry to compete at the Australian Tourism Awards.

“The Victorian Tourism Awards is actually a national awards process, so every state in the country undertakes a very rigorous and comprehensive application,” she said.

“We have 34 judges in Victoria who evaluate the submission after site visit, full analysis and deliberation.

“The Gold winners in each category now progress on to the national Australian Tourism Awards which are going to be held in Darwin in March 2024 and they’ll compete against Gold winners from every state across the country.”