September 21, 2016
The Coromandel Tourism Industry recognises outstanding contribution with Awards Showcase.
Industry players from around The Coromandel met yesterday to celebrate another excellent year of growth in tourism, and to acknowledge some of the sterling contributions made by local business operators.
More than 100 industry members, including Thames Coromandel and Hauraki District Council and regional i-SITE representatives, met at Grand Mercure Puka Park in Pauanui for the Annual Industry Workshop and Awards Showcase, hosted by Destination Coromandel. The event was timed by the Regional Tourism Organisation to coincide with the release of its Annual Report for 2015/16, reflecting the fourth consecutive year of growth in visitor numbers and spend for The Coromandel.
Recognition for excellent Service Quality based on Service IQ and national TripAdvisor Top 10 rankings went to the following:
Ranked #7 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Things to Do, NZ Boat Tours & Water Sports Category -Ocean Leopard Tours
As a new player in a competitive market, Justin’s start for Ocean Leopard Tours was a challenge, a challenge which has paid off with dedication to delivering a quality and differentiated service every day, and earning a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Justin also replies to just about every TripAdvisor comment, which is quite a commitment. But with word of mouth being such a powerful marketing tool, this is an example of Justin’s determination to follow up all sales opportunities, along with the fact that he communicates daily with local sales channels during the high season. With plans afoot to further develop his business, we look forward to the next phase.
Ranked #10 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Things to Do, NZ Boat Tours & Water Sports Category - Cathedral Cove Kayaks
As an iconic product on The Coromandel, we may forget that its been more than twelve years of salty graft with a paddle to develop this business to its current standing, as a benchmark for excellence and service quality. And that includes dedicated marketing effort to trade, TRENZ exhibits and countless famils all at considerable cost and effort. Mike is now able to provide year-round and full-time employment for some of his team, which swells considerably over the summer months. These tours are a great example of how to provide a sustainable, low environmental-impact visitor experience around a natural asset that is coming under increasing pressure from visitors. The guides can get just about anyone out on a kayak even if its out of their comfort zone, and the cappuccinos still go down a treat.
Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Things to Do, Classes & Workshops Category - Driving Creek Railway
As one of the first and best-loved tourism products on The Coromandel, Driving Creek Railway today is the result of the vision and life’s work of a Coromandel original Barry Brickell, OBE. Barry arrived on The Coromandel in the 1960’s, and his legacy to the tourism industry and our community in general extends far beyond the railway, through his activities as a writer, potter and conservationist. Fifty years later, at the time of his death earlier this year, had become one of New Zealand's most celebrated ceramic artists and had restored hectares of native bush and created a wildlife sanctuary. Most famously he spent 33 years building the Driving Creek Railway - a popular tourist attraction that has now carried close to 1.25 million passengers, and continues to delight visitors of all ages and origins.
We have no doubt that John’s reaction to receiving this award will be that we haven’t seen anything yet! As General Manager, John is leading the team (now 28 strong) in new directions, and one of the tasks ahead is curating Barry’s massive art collection. We look forward to seeing the evolution of this mulifaceted and excellent attraction, building on Barry’s legacy.
Ranked #2 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Accommodation, B&B and Inn Category - Bayview at 91
Bayview at 91 is Boutique Bed & Breakfast overlooking Mercury Bay, Whitianga and the Mountain Ranges. David and Dmitri are proud of their 4 years of excellence ratings with TripAdvisor and three years of Travellers Choice award. They are passionate advocates of Qualmark, New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality which they have held for 7 years, and they hold 5 star Boutique & Lodge and Enviro Silver endorsements. David is particularly proud of their recent 97.4% assessment rating and he hopes that more operators take up Qualmark assurance as a definitive measure of quality and process for improving business performance.
Ranked #9 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Accommodation, B&& and Inn Category – Sunlover Retreat
After holidaying on The Coromandel for many years, Donna and Chris decided they weren’t going home to Auckland anymore. As a purpose built B and B, they created Sunlover Retreat 3 years ago with a clear vision of the visitor experience they wanted to offer. Their intention for the retreat was to create a home they could share with others which would give guests the feeling that they are “staying with locals”. Propelled by Donna’s determination to “knock people’s socks off” and considerable marketing and networking savvy, Sunlover Retreat soon rose in profile and preference, where it remains a top player in this category with a 2016 Travellers Choice award. Rover is a bit of a star too.
Ranked #8 on TripAdvisor in NZ for Accommodation, Other Activity Category - The Church Accommodation
The Church Accommodation owners Andreas and Anna have a mission to maintain a high standard of service accommodation whilst providing a relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere for both guests and staff, which has been reflected in their customer service accolades. Andreas and Anna are committed to providing a sustainable product which is ethical & environmentally friendly to the surroundings. The accommodation complex located in Hahei is nestled in 1.5 acres of native bush and gardens with all cottages landscaped for their individual peace and privacy.
Service IQ Best Museum Visitor Experience Award 2015 & finalist in the 2015 New Zealand Best Design Awards - Gold Discovery Centre
The Waihi Gold Discovery Centre opened in late September 2014. The vision for the Centre was founded in a community consolation process charged with creating a vibrant and viable future for the township of Waihi. After a number of years of sometimes challenging project development, the Waihi Gold Discovery Centre now operates as an innovative and high quality ‘Visitor Hub’ designed to stimulate economic growth through the tourism sector. The Centre provides a full range of visitor information services and through the award winning hands-on Waihi Gold Experience and Waihi Gold Mine Tours they showcase some of our authentic and relevant regional stories to visitors from all around the world.
Service IQ NZ Apprentice Chef of the Year 2016 & NZ Beef and Lamb Winners 2016 – The Falls Retreat
The Falls Retreat is a place where you experience quality food in a charming bistro-style setting.
Award-winning chef Brad King and his team create flavours and textures utilizing seasonal home grown and local produce. Brad, Emma and the team understand the importance of family and the community around them and take it upon themselves to embrace this in whatever way they can. Combining educational workshops on gardening to teaching the art of cooking ensures the team at Falls Retreat stay true to their believe, that food is at the heart of a healthy happy family. Added to their 2016 NZ Beef and lamb accolade, apprentice chef Aaron Kingsford was recently named as Service IQ NZ Apprentice Chef of the Year.
Industry Showcase Product Development Award- Based on local businesses who are improving the profitability of their business by increasing the number of products and services available and thereby the number of visits, length of stay and spend by individual visitors.
Awarded to:.Coromandel Adventures
Coromandel Adventures started operating in Oct 2011 – and is about to celebrate 5 years in business, with the opening of their new office and visitor centre in Coromandel Town.
From the start Willie and Sarni recognised the gap in connectivity throughout The Coromandel and the difficulty visitors without transport were having connecting with the promise of The Coromandel. There was an obvious gap in the market for a dynamic transport and tour company, that also connected the 360 Discovery Ferry service with both sides of the region. They started with the philosophy that a collaborative approach was required to connect the “must do” activities and key operators across the region in order to improve visitor experience and showcase the diversity of The Coromandel.
Coromandel Adventures are actively working with other like-minded, successful tourism operators to strengthen the operator network throughout the Central North Island with the goal of extending the range of visitor pathways and seamless integration between the regions. The ultimate aim of this will be improved visitor experience, increased length of stay and enthusiastic agent support.
Industry Showcase Special Award – Is theacknowledgement of an individual who has shown outstanding commitment, passion and leadership to the tourism industry on The Coromandel.
Awarded to: Glenn Leach, Current Mayor Thames Coromandel District
After returning from overseas with his wife Rennie in the late seventies, Glenn sold his share of the family quarry and contracting business and set up shop in Whitianga, where they developed their tourism business Aotearoa Tours, which specialised in small group tours, predominantly in the international market. In 1982 Glenn and Rennie operated one of the first Bed &Breakfast on The Coromandel, which lead on to the establishment of Aotearoa Lodge & Conference Centre in Whitianga. In 1990 they were the first company to book the Fullers Big Cat for a regional tour bringing passengers to and from Auckland.
During the early 80’s Glenn was an active member of the Coromandel Visitor Information Services which later became Coromandel Peninsula Regional Promotions which Glenn Chaired in the late 80’s.
After deciding that in order to get a regional awareness of tourism you needed to be on the inside, Glenn decided it was time to tackle politics and was elected as a member of the Mercury Bay Community Board and Thames Coromandel District Councillor, holding the position of Deputy Chair of the Mercury Bay Community Board from 1989 - 1995.
Glenn also spent a number of years (from 1987 to the late 90s) as chair of the Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO), then Tourism Coromandel, and was made the only life member of the RTO. During this time Glenn was involved in helping and facilitating the sealing of SH25 between Coromandel Town and Whitianga. He worked closely with Chris Adams (CEO of Tourism Coromandel) and Transit to achieve this goal. Sealing of SH 25 (Coromandel to Whitianga) was the number one priority of the PATA Task Force (which Glenn was a member of) which said it would be of the great economic benefit to the region. Glenn's involvement with regional growth has spanned over 30 years.
During Glenn’s past 6 years as Mayor of the Thames Coromandel District he has been influential in the new direction and structure of Destination Coromandel, has seeded the development of the Great Walks Project and the WWI Memorial Forest as well as implementing the strategy of the heritage region for The Coromandel. Glenn’s passion for the industry and dedication to the Coromandel region has been without doubt exceptional.