New Zealand launches new visitor experience awards

Seven exceptional visitor experience operators have been celebrated at the inaugural Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards. The Awards recognise excellence in sustainable visitor experiences and were presented at New Zealand’s Parliament tonight by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Kelvin Davis.

“The 2019 Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award recipients are some of New Zealand’s top visitor experiences, living and breathing sustainability and ensuring their communities reap the benefits of their success,” says Qualmark General Manager, Gregg Anderson.

The award winners, both new and long-established operators, represent a variety of New Zealand experiences including adventure, accommodation, relaxation and off-the-beaten track activities in diverse regions.

The 2019 Qualmark 100% Pure Experience Award recipients are:  

  • Camp Glenorchy – Eco Retreat (Queenstown)
  • Franz Josef Glacier Guides – Glacier Heli Hike (West Coast)
  • Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa (Canterbury)
  • Kaitiaki Adventures – Raft the Kaituna (Rotorua)
  • Real Journeys – Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise (Fiordland)
  • Redwoods Treewalk – Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights Experience (Rotorua)
  • Rotorua Canopy Tours – The Ultimate Canopy Tour (Rotorua)

Each experience is a blend of conventional and traditional practices that support long-term environmental, financial and community sustainability, Anderson said. The award recognises the recipients’ commitment to enriching their communities and natural environment for future generations.

Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. The 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards are open to all Qualmark gold accredited operators. Over 100 entries were received for this year’s awards.

Judges were looking for entries demonstrating excellence in visitor hosting and a commitment to Tiaki – Care for New Zealand, a tourism industry initiative to encourage travellers to care for people, place and culture while in New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive and Award judge, Stephen England-Hall says: “The 2019 Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award recipients exemplify how tourism positively impacts our communities while contributing to New Zealand’s reputation as a world-class visitor destination.”

This year’s judges were: Former Chair of Tourism New Zealand, Dame Kerry Prendergast; Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive, Stephen England-Hall; Tourism New Zealand Chief Financial Officer, Sue Parcell; Air New Zealand Head of Sustainability, Lisa Daniell, and; Air New Zealand Sustainability Advisory Panel and Director of the Griffith Institute for Tourism, Dr. Susanne Becken.

ABOUT: 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award Recipients

Camp Glenorchy – Eco Retreat
Designed to operate in harmony with nature, Camp Glenorchy is a warm welcoming place that’s raising a new standard in sustainably designed guest accommodation. Opened in 2018, it’s built to a world-first sustainability code and features energy-efficient building designs, smart lighting systems, composting toilets and a solar garden. The owners hope that the camp, with its range of cabins, bunkhouses and motorhome sites near the lovely shores of Lake Wakatipu, will inspire guests to embrace sustainable ideas in their own homes. Their dedication to environmental, community and financial sustainability includes giving back to the community.

Franz Josef Glacier Guides – Glacier Heli Hike
Franz Josef Glacier Guides operate in one of the most unique glacier environments on the planet and exploring the natural beauty of the glacier environment first hand is often a once in a lifetime opportunity for visitors. However, not content to simply show them this majestic giant, Franz Josef Glacier Guides see their mission as ensuring each guest walks away with a new-found respect for the glacier environment including its vital role in the ecology of Te Tai Poutini (South Island West Coast) and the wealth of legends woven through its icy foundations.

Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa – Adult Experience
Water is the life blood at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, the South Island’s main natural spa resort. In one of the largest businesses in the rural Hurunui North Canterbury region, the role of kaitiaki (guardian) – the responsibility to leave the environment and community in even better shape for future generations – is foundational. It’s also a place where visitors are welcomed as whānau (family), treated with care in a relaxed environment and leave

 enriched with stories and treasured memories.

Kaitiaki Adventures – Raft the Kaituna (Grade 5)
At Kaitiaki Adventures, a contemporary on-water adventure – rafting a thrilling waterway – is infused with conventional sustainable practices and age-old Māori values. This company takes its name literally, prioritising kaitiaki (guardianship) in an holistic New Zealand experience inspired by  culture, landscape and people – past, present, future.  The cultural aspect of each journey enriches a world class immersive adventure.

Real Journeys – Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise
On remote Doubtful Sound in Fiordland, Real Journeys overnight cruise allows visitors to tune into and experience the wonder of nature. The highlight is often the moment when th

Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights Experience
e motors stop and the sound of pure silence descends, appropriately in a place the Maori first named Patea or ‘the place of silence’.  Veteran southern tourism operators Real Journeys spice this experience with old-fashioned hospitality and stories told by guides, drivers and crew as they travel by road, over Lake Manapouri and across the mountain range into the Sound.

One of New Zealand’s newest tourism experiences, the Redwoods Treewalk and Nightlights Experience in Rotorua is an enchanting after-dark experience in an iconic natural theatre – a magnificent grove of stately trees, also known by local Maori as Te Pa o Tane (Cathedral of the Gods). For visitors the night walk, on a walkway high in the trees and among giant suspended lights designed by David Trubridge, is an opportunity to admire a unique fu

sion of nature and art in a place that Prince Harry called “heaven”.

Rotorua Canopy Tours – The Ultimate Canopy Tour
Rotorua Canopy Tours, launched in 2012 with the aspiration of becoming one of the world’s greatest nature adventures, has had more than a fair share of tourism and conservation successes. This guided three-hour experience is a mix of thrills, nature and conservation, ziplining through the 1000-year-old tree tops of Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, near Rotorua. What started as the business and conservation dream of one man has become a local tourism gem that is protecting a treasured ecosystem by inspiring visitors to contribute to the restoration of one of the most remarkable forests in the country.


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