Destination Fiordland celebrated 42 years of annual Tourism Awards in Te Anau on Friday 13th September. This event is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge excellence from within the local tourism industry.
The recipients from last nights’ awards join a long and prestigious list of the regions’ top tourism businesses, and individuals.
Around 150 people from across various sectors of the community turned out for the evening which was held at Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas. Master of Ceremonies was Preston Russell Law partner and Destination Fiordland Board chairman Gareth Davis. This year there were an unprecedented number of nominations for the various awards. Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock notes this an indication of a community that understands the importance of excellence in tourism.
In 2019 the recipients of the Tourism Personality award and AWS Legal Tourism Operator awards were put forward via nomination with the final decision made by an independent panel. All finalists this year consistently demonstrated an emphasis on sustainability, conservation in action, staff engagement and putting the customer experience at the centre of their business.
Damien Pine presented the AWS Legal Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year 2019 award to Go Orange. Go Orange have shown leadership in the local tourism industry by developing unique products in Milford and Doubtful Sounds as well as Queenstown. Last year Go Orange were named fastest growing service company by Deloitte and were ranked 37th in the Deloitte Fast 50. Southern Discoveries, Fiordland Jet and Trips & Tramps were the other finalists in the AWS Legal Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year Award. All finalists had proven track records in sustainability, staff engagement and high levels of customer focus.
Liz Newell was the winner of the Fiordland Tourism Personality of the Year. Mrs. Newell works for Southern Discoveries and is well known around the region for going the extra mile for guests, enthusiasm for the local community and zeal for life.
Other awards given out for the evening were the Bradley Family Award for Innovation, presented by Ken Bradley. This year’s winner is Habit Food owned by Ryan Murray and Jo Lott. Ryan and Jo’s passion for fresh kiwi food with flare along with a sustainable and fair trade approach sees locals and tourists alike flocking to the Habit Food trailer in the Te Anau town center.
Nigel Humphries from the Fiordland branch of Hospitality New Zealand presented the SERVICE PLUS AWARD 2019 to Reece Hay of Southern Discoveries for his outstanding service to tourism over many years. Mr. Hay attended the Award ceremony after completing his 3797th trip into Milford as a bus driver. He is still as passionate about the area as he was when he first started the job.
The Tourism Supporter of the year sponsored by Preston Russell Law which is awarded to an organisation or individual who plays a significant part in supporting tourism in Fiordland. Partner of Preston Russell Law, Gareth Davis presented the award to the Te Anau Volunteer Fire Brigade receiving a loud ovation from those present. Mr. Davis highlighted the incredible commitment made by individuals on a volunteer basis to serve the community and visitors to the region in often harrowing situations. He also mentioned the commitment employers make to release staff for this crucial community service. The award was received by Fire Chief Graeme “Possum” Moffat.
Long-time local legend and ‘Mayor of Milford’ Rosco Gaudin was recognised with Life Membership of Destination Fiordland for his contribution to tourism. Rosco Gaudin owns Rosco’s Milford Kayaks, the longest owner-operated sea kayaking business in New Zealand and is well-known for his support of the Milford community, adventurous spirit and community support.
The guest speaker for the event was Jim Boult who spoke about his affiliation with the local tourism industry as well as issues currently facing Queenstown due to tourism and how those issues may also translate to Fiordland.
27 Nov 2019
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