Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kakadu and Uluru Voted Australia’s Top Travel Destinations

The Northern Territory's spectacular landscapes in Kakadu and Uluru have been voted Australia's top two travel destinations by National Geographic Traveler in the United States.

The sixth annual 'Places Rated' Destination Stewardship survey in conjunction with National Geographic Society's Center for Sustainable Destinations ranked Kakadu in the top ten destinations in the world.

Kakadu National Park lies in the Top End of Australia offering travellers tropical waterholes, wetlands and world-renowned escarpments packed with rare species of plants and animals, that are depicted through ancient rock art, etched out by the traditional owners over 50,000 years.

The monumental site of Uluru was ranked 32nd in the world, most renowned for its incredible red desert setting, surrounded by canyons, ranges and the famous outback town of Alice Springs.

Queensland's Great Barrier Reef ranked sixty-nine and NSW's Byron Bay ninety-nine, with a total of 133 celebrated destinations from around the world and ranked according to how they have weathered the pressures of mass tourism and other threats.

Kakadu and Uluru were the only destinations in Australia to score in the top 50 with judges noting Kakadu's wonderful wildlife and unspoiled beauty, and Uluru's excellent care and sustainability programs.

With a score of 78, they praised Kakadu as "an outstanding example of the fundamental importance of long-standing traditional learning in Parks management." They also highlighted on a global scale, Uluru is "a good model for arid-zone and indigenous-tourism development."

Tourism NT Chief Executive Maree Tetlow said this is a huge accolade for the Northern Territory and for both Kakadu and Uluru.

"Australia's Northern Territory tourism industry relies heavily on its natural and cultural environments, so to receive these accolades from the highly respected National Geographic organisation is testimony to our tourism operators and our Parks management," Ms Tetlow said.

"We have been working with our industry to help them understand environmental issues such as climate change by making them relevant to tourism.

"Through our 'Going Green' program we've provided practical step by step information to help tourism businesses in the Northern Territory develop more sustainable operating practices," she said.

The National Geographic panel consisted of 437 well travelled experts in a variety of fields including historic preservation, site management, geography, sustainable tourism, ecology, indigenous cultures, travel writing and photography, and archaeology.

To view the survey and rankings visit National Geographic Traveler.

National Geographic Adventure's Global Travel Editor, Costas Christ, will be visiting Alice Springs next week to undertake his role as the key note speaker in the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference from 9-11 November.

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