The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden has once again received statewide recognition, earning two nominations for the 2018 South Australian Tourism Awards.
Arid Lands has been listed as a finalist for both the Ecotourism and the Tourist Attraction categories.
Arid Lands Tourism Officer Bernie Reichstein said it was really nice to be nominated.
“We have to meet a certain criteria to make it as a finalist,” Ms Reichstein said.
“It helps benchmark us for best practice within the industry and see what other people are doing and how we can aim to improve.”
Arid Lands was nominated for both categories in 2017, taking home silver in Tourist Attraction and bronze in Ecotourism.
The consecutive nominations highlight the garden’s successful business and marketing plans, as well as increasing visitor numbers.
After recording about 99,000 visitors last year, Ms Reichstein said the popular destination has managed to surpass the 100,000 mark this year.
“I think the interest in natural environments and nature has really kicked up,” she said.
“We find a lot of people that come are either interested in birds and native plants or gardeners looking for inspiration.
“There’s also been a lot of families with kids, especially with our Arid Explorers Children’s Garden, which has been a real hit.”
According to recent surveys conducted at the Arid Lands, the increase in visitor numbers is a real boost for Port Augusta.
“We’ve found that 25 per cent of visitors surveyed said they were staying three nights or more in Port Augusta to allow time to explore the garden,” Ms Reichstein revealed.
“We thought it was really amazing and a really good benefit to Port Augusta. We’re really pleased people are staying more than one night.”
The Arid Lands is one of 10 businesses from the Flinders Ranges that will be showcased at the 2018 South Australian Tourism Awards Gala Dinner.
Other finalists include Hawker-based businesses Flinders Bush Retreats and Camel Treks Australia.
South Australian Tourism Industry Council (SATIC) Chief Executive Officer Shaun de Bruyn was full of praise for the Flinders Ranges.
“The Flinders Ranges and Outback is one of the magnificent tourism regions we have on offer in South Australia and we are extremely excited to see some of their outstanding tourism products be showcased at Tourism’s Night of Nights,” Mr de Bruyn said.
The Gala Dinner is scheduled to be held on Friday, November 9 at the Adelaide Convention Centre.