Taronga Zoo is celebrating being named the ‘Best Major Attraction’ at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards held in Perth on 11 March, 2011.The Zoo was selected from many outstanding Australian competitors to take home the coveted award which recognises and promotes excellence in Australian tourism. The ceremony is the industry’s biggest and most prestigious event of the year.Taronga Zoo Director and Chief Executive, Cameron Kerr, said:” We are very proud to have won this award and would like to thank the National Tourism Alliance and Tourism Australia for recognising the value of our work for wildlife.” “Last year Taronga Zoo won the Major Attraction award at the NSW Tourism awards. We were delighted with the state recognition and on behalf of all our staff who’ve worked so hard over the last 10 years to make this one of the greatest zoos in the world, we are simply over the moon with this national industry award.” “The national award demonstrates that people value the work we do. No longer are zoos just a place to house animals, but centres of excellence in nature-based tourism. We play a vital role educating domestic and international visitors about wildlife, conservation issues and how we can all have positive impact on our environment.” “In our 94 year history, Taronga has welcomed over 100 million visitors, giving them a unique wildlife experience.” “For domestic and international tourists, a trip to the Zoo for the chance to encounter wildlife and take in the breathtaking harbour at the ‘zoo with the view’ is high up on the itinerary.” “Australia has some outstanding tourist attractions, so it is indeed a privilege to be considered so highly. This is great recognition that we are heading in the right direction.” The Zoo is continually evolving introducing new exhibits including the Great Southern Oceans exhibit that introduces visitors to marine animals like Leopard Seals and Little Penguins and the Tasmanian Devil Breeding Centre, which is also helping to educate visitors about the threats this species faces and how Taronga is assisting. “Taronga is a very unique place. We are a favourite with tourists, locals and children, but at our core we are a conservation organisation, a wildlife rehabilitation and research centre and education facility. That’s what makes the zoo a very different sort of attraction, drawing a wide cross-section of people keen to discover more about the wonders of wildlife,” said Cameron. Taronga Zoo is open every day of the year from 9:00am – 5:00pm.