07 August 2008
Queenstown dominates tourism awards yet again
The annual Tourism Industry Awards on Tuesday recognised the most outstanding businesses in the New Zealand tourism industry, reports Fourcorners.co.nz. The evening, hosted by the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), saw adventure capital Queenstown dominate the award ceremony yet again.
The Magic Travellers Network, a coach network allowing passengers to hop on and off en route during the validity of their pass, took out the Air New Zealand Supreme Award for overall excellence in every aspect of the business.
The Agrodome in Rotorua, which provides a hands-on live experience of farming, won the Visitor Activities and Attractions Award, and was also the runner up for the Supreme Award.
In Wellington, the newly refurbished Karori Sanctuary was rewarded for its efforts in environmental sustainability by taking home the Conservation in Action Award. The Sanctuary is due to open its new world-class visitor experience in 18 months and "is set to become a must-do destination for visitors to New Zealand," said the Sanctuary’s Chief Executive Nancy McIntosh-Ward.
But it was the South Island that attracted most of the attention, again. For three years running, Queenstown’s Grand Mercure St Moritz was awarded a Distinction for the Best Visitor Accommodation. This year, they scored top prize. The Shotover Canyon Swing topped the adventure activity category, while Skydive Lake Wanaka won the Small Tourism Operator Award.
Destination Queenstown General Manager Graham Budd congratulated the winners from the ceremony, saying that the high number of Queenstown businesses recognised on the evening is testament to Queenstown’s overall commitment to professionalism and quality in the tourism industry.
"The awards recognise the top performers in New Zealand’s largest export sector. Every year, a number of Queenstown businesses make this very high grade to be acknowledged as outstanding by their peers. It’s an excellent result for these businesses and for Queenstown’s reputation as a premier lake and alpine resort destination," Mr Budd said.
According to TIA, tourism in New Zealand is the country’s single largest exporter; it contributes to 18.3 per cent of the country’s exports, and since 1999, the numbers of people who visit New Zealand have increased by 61 per cent. Tourism also contributes $14.1 billion of gross domestic product to New Zealand’s economy on an annual basis.
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Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.