Australia's remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands take gold at tourism awards

Last night the Cocos (Keeling) Islands (CKI) were awarded a gold medal at Western Australia’s 2019 Top Tourism Town Awards.

It is a significant achievement for one of Australia’s most remote external territories to be recognised as an emerging tourism town.

As Assistant Minister for Territories, I am proud to see this unique location and small community acknowledged by the public and industry as “Australia's last unspoiled paradise”.

CKI is located in Australia’s Indian Ocean Territories (IOT), almost 3,000 kilometres north-west of Perth, and 1,270 kilometres south-west of Jakarta, Indonesia.

There are 27 coral islands in the group with a total land area of approximately 15.6 square kilometres featuring unique bird life, marine environments and national parks, and a diverse culture and history.

The awards, run by Visitor Centres WA, are now in their 30th year and hotly contested by local tourism destinations. Medals were presented at the WA Regional Tourism Conference in the Pilbara region last night.

The awards attracted more than 8,000 public votes and praise for CKI’s “pristine beaches, stunning underwater world and a welcoming and friendly multicultural community”.

As part of the award, the CKI Tourism Association (CKITA), which is funded by the Australian Government, received a $10,000 advertising package to further promote the islands to tourists.

Ahead of my first visit to CKI next week as Assistant Minister, I would encourage more Australians to visit our spectacular territories in the Indian Ocean for a once-in-a-lifetime experience and see the award-winning atolls of CKI for themselves.

As a WA MP and with my responsibilities for Regional Development, I would also like to congratulate the town of Exmouth which was named the overall winner claiming the Gold Medal in the Top Tourism Town category, with Albany claiming Silver and Esperance taking out Bronze.