The accolades are continuing to roll in for Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s overnight experiences, with Zoofari Lodge receiving two gongs in the LUX 2016 Hotel and Spa Awards for Best Contemporary Zoofari Retreat (Australia) and Best Experience Accommodation (NSW).
The zoo has also just been announced as a finalist in the NSW Tourism Awards, in both the Tourist Attractions and Unique Accommodation categories. This is the third year that the zoo has been in the running for Gold in the Unique Accommodation category, after winning the category the past two years.
“It is so exciting and rewarding to see Zoofari Lodge win yet another award, this time from an international luxury magazine featuring the best establishments from around the world,” Accommodation Manager, Penny Costello said.
“To again be a finalist in the NSW Tourism awards for the zoo and all three of our overnight products is wonderful acknowledgement for the amazing and inspiring experiences our guests are having when they spend the night in the zoo.”
“Our overnight experiences are now our flagship offerings and intrinsic to the zoo’s overall proposition as a major regional tourism destination.”
Following $7.5 million investment over two years the zoo’s accommodation offerings expanded to three unique and innovative overnight experiences – Zoofari Lodge, Savannah Cabins and Billabong Camp.
Mrs Costello said the three experiences combined welcomed almost 40,000 guests over the last financial year - 10,000 more guests than the prior year.
“Unique accommodation now contributes 41% to zoo-wide revenue,” said Mrs Costello.
“The Zoo’s overnight experiences are a key component of the Zoo’s business model, helping to secure our future financial sustainability, ensuring that the Zoo continues to be the premiere inland tourist destination drawing visitors to the region, and supporting our critical animal care and conservation programs.”
And there’s lots more to look forward to in the coming 18 months, with the opening of the zoo’s all new Savannah Safari experience in December and the impending arrival of the zoo’s first ever Asian Elephant calf in November, as well as the commencement of one of the biggest projects undertaken in the zoo’s history – the development of Lion Pridelands to be completed by late 2017.
The NSW Tourism Awards will be announced on Thursday 24 November in Sydney.