The country’s tourism industry gave itself a well-deserved pat on the back on Thursday evening with the return of the in-person New Zealand Tourism Awards.
After a difficult pandemic for many operators, the industry was able to celebrate the awards, organised by Tourism Industry Aotearoa, in the same room at Claudelands in Hamilton together for the first time since 2019.
“So many tourism finalists, colleagues, friends and just darn amazing businesses worthy of recognition,” posted Matt Wong online this morning. The owner of Queenstown’s iFLY Indoor Skydiving NZ saw his business win the Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award for the second year in a row.
“The finalists were all absolute rockstars, and I was completely unprepared for winning the [award] again in 2022… humbled and inspired by the amazing businesses making a difference in their communities.
“There is huge commitment to deliver the aspirational goals of regenerative tourism, and I’m stoked iFLY is able to stand among so many industry champions.”
Queenstown’s Altitude Tours, which won the Westpac Resilience and Innovation Award, said it was a “huge night”.
“Congratulations to Christchurch International Airport Limited and Haka Tourism Group for being finalists. Thank you to Tourism Industry Aotearoa,” posted the operator online.
Cooper and Company’s luxury accommodation The Landing won the Department of Conservation – Conservation Award and said it was a proud moment of recognition for its kaitiakitanga of its heritage site in the Bay of Islands.
“We are delighted to see the work of The Landing team and many others recognised,” said Garth Solly, director of hospitality at the operator.
“The Landing is a special place and we take great pride and care in being the custodians of its landscape, history and wildlife. Our sustainability practices are key to protecting and preserving The Landing’s unique qualities and community, for the past 20 years and far into the future.”
John Barrett, who won the Marsh Industry Champion Tourism Award, thanked the industry for “recognising time and contribution to the sector”.
“It’s been a privilege, and an education,” he said.
“There have been, and there still are some great people in our industry. Let’s hope we come through the next couple of years well, with an eye to a sustainable, regenerative future.”
Barrett’s Kapiti Island Nature Tours also won the He Toa Takitini Māori Tourism Award.
WellingtonNZ Tourism manager Jo Heaton said Barrett’s and Kapiti Island Nature Tours’ success, as well as e-ferry operator East by West winning the Environment Award, were fitting recognition for the region’s industry.
“My heart was in my throat as our region kept being represented on the stage,” Heaton said of last night’s event.
“To have our innovative operators recognised for their mahi is testament to their hard work.”
The full list of New Zealand Tourism Awards winners can be seen here.
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