2016 Award Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 New Zealand Tourism Awards

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award Winner 2016

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Rotorua Canopy Tours

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.
This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

Individual Award Winners 2016

Emerging Tourism Leader Award Winner 2016

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Bradley Garnett – SKYCITY Entertainment Group, Auckland

Working as a hotel porter while he was studying gave Brad Garnett a taste for tourism and hospitality. He’s gone on to work in hotels across the world and in 2013 was promoted to SKYCITY Entertainment Group’s Hotels Group Revenue Manager. Since then he has consistently produced record revenue results for both SKYCITY’s Auckland hotels.

Brad is also Manager of the SKYCITY Contact Centre, managing a team which averages an incredible 2000 customer touch points daily!

The judges said Brad’s commitment doesn’t stop at the doors of SKYCITY. He is a passionate contributor to New Zealand’s tourism industry and loves any excuse to get in front of people to explain the importance of revenue management.

Tourism Industry Champion Award Winner 2016

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Graeme Abbot – Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, Canterbury

Graeme Abbot has been General Manager of the extremely successful Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa for 16 years. Passionate and business savvy, he has delivered great results for the council-owned spa complex, the local Hanmer community and the wider Canterbury tourism industry.

Under Graeme’s leadership the pool and spa’s physical size has expanded by 50%, annual visitor numbers have accelerated to more than half a million and annual turnover has more than doubled to $11 million.

The judges said Graeme is a well-respected industry champion who has made a wide reaching difference. They praised his personal integrity and success in transforming Hanmer into a ‘spa town’.

Sir Jack Newman - Outstanding Industry Leader Award Winner 2016

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George Hickton

George Hickton is the man who drove the development of the award-winning and enduring 100% Pure New Zealand international marketing brand.

The judges said it was George’s most outstanding achievement during his 10 years as Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand from 1999 to 2009.

During George’s time at the helm of TNZ, annual visitor arrivals increased from 1.6 million to more than 2.4 million and international visitor expenditure grew from $4.5 billion to over $7 billion. George saw the value of events in raising New Zealand’s international profile. Highlights included award winning New Zealand gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show and the giant inflatable rugby Ball projects.

The industry is still benefitting from George’s inspirational leadership, including Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board Chair, Weta Workshop  and Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours Director and Project Director of Wellington’s new Movie Museum.

Business Awards Winners 2016

Visitor Experience Award Winner 2016

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In association with ServiceIQ

Rotorua Canopy Tours, Rotorua

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.
This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

Business Excellence Award Winner 2016 – Less than $6m annual turnover

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In association with Westpac

Black Cat Cruises, Canterbury

Black Cat Cruises is one of the South Island’s biggest cruise companies. Each year more than 150,000 customers experience a nature cruise, dolphin swim or ferry ride on one of its modern vessels on Akaroa or Lyttelton Harbours.

Providing a top service while preserving the harbour environment has been challenging, but Black Cat Cruises has built a business model and staff culture to achieve this. It has responded to the challenge of rebuilding visitors to Akaroa and the wider region after the Canterbury earthquakes decimated visitor numbers.

The judges said Black Cat Cruises has demonstrated real longevity in a tough environment. It has just celebrated its 30th year – its most successful yet!

Business Excellence Award Winner 2016 – More than $6m annual turnover

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In association with JLT /AIG

Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

Environmental Tourism Award Winner 2016

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In association with Mercury

Rotorua Canopy Tours, Rotorua

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.
This thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.

The judges said at the heart of Rotorua Canopy Tours’ success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.

People's Choice Award Winner 2016

In association with NZME

Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

Maori Cultural Tourism Award Winner 2016

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In association with Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED).

Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Northland

A transformation over the past four years has seen the Waitangi Treaty Grounds develop into a major visitor attraction featuring historic buildings, guided tours, authentic cultural performances, hangi and concerts.

The recent completion of the multi-million dollar award-winning Te Kongahu-Museum of Waitangi enhances the cultural experience, telling stories of Waitangi and the origin of the nation.

The judges said Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a stand-out performer that has achieved financial and visitor growth beyond expectations. It is displaying a newfound pride in its rich Maori culture and is vital to the economic well-being of the local community.

Tourism Marketing Campaign Award Winner 2016

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In association with Spark

Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Who would have thought 16 years ago that a bare hillside out of Matamata would house a tourism business attracting almost 500,000 visitors annually? Thanks to the perseverance of the Alexander family, devoted staff and the support of Sir Peter Jackson, that’s what Hobbiton Movie Set & Farms has achieved.

Marketing collaborations with Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and the Waikato RTO have enabled this SME to cut through the noise to build brand recognition internationally. Visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours have grown almost 10 fold over the past four years.

The judges said in a relatively short space of time, Hobbiton has become an iconic, must-see New Zealand attraction with an international reputation.

Industry Alignment Award Winner 2016

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In association with Ministry of Business and Innovation & Employment

Destination Rotorua, Rotorua

Four years ago Rotorua was languishing as one of the worst performing RTO regions. This spurred Destination Rotorua and over 150 local operators to join together to fund Famously Rotorua, a high profile domestic marketing campaign, originally targeting the Auckland market and more recently Auckland’s Chinese community.

The judges said this well targeted campaign is maximising results for local tourism operators and ramping up the economic benefits to the local community. It has reinvigorated the destination as a place for New Zealanders to visit more often, stay longer and spend more.

Tourism 2025 Enabler Award Winner 2016

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In association with Auckland Airport.

Angus & Associates, Wellington

The winner of this award for the second consecutive year, Angus & Associates is an independent market, research and strategic planning consultancy.

It develops insight solutions for tourism organisations and sectors, including holiday parks, regional tourism operators, cycle trails and the backpacker, youth and adventure tourism sector.

The judges said Angus & Associates understand the complexities of the tourism industry and has produced effective and user-friendly sector information where there was nothing to start with!  A syndicated approach enables research to occur that individual organisations would often be unable to conduct on their own.