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People's Choice Tourism Award launched

For the first time ever, New Zealanders are being invited to vote in the Tourism Awards, with a new People's Choice Tourism Award forming part of the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2000. Tourism Industry Association Chief Executive Glenys Coughlan says the industry wants New Zealanders to have their say about what they think New Zealand's best visitor attraction, experience or service is, based on the finalists of this years Tourism Awards.

"The Tourism Awards judges have done their work and decided who the finalists are. Now we want New Zealanders to have their say. As an incentive, we are offering one lucky winner, drawn at random from those who vote, will win a year's worth of New Zealand's best holidays - including bungy jumping, Harley Davidson bike rides, eco-tourism and fantastic accommodation throughout New Zealand. Air New Zealand is providing $5000 worth of domestic air travel to get the winner around the country. "In addition, the finalist who gets the most votes in the Peoples Choice Tourism Awards will win an Air New Zealand travel prize valued at $5000.

"While overseas visitor numbers continue to grow at a steady rate, New Zealanders still make up a large and important part of the tourism market in New Zealand.

"The old slogan 'don't leave town till you've seen the country' has never been truer than now with the excellent range of product available for the domestic tourist, coupled with the fact that the low dollar is making it more expensive than ever to holiday overseas.

"We are excited about them telling us who they think the best tourism operators are. We hope the People's Choice Tourism Award will become an annual event," Ms Coughlan said.

New Zealanders will be able to vote for the People's Choice Tourism Award by filling out a coupon in this weekends Sunday Star Times. The winner of the Peoples Choice Tourism Award will be announced on TV One's Breakfast Show on August 11, as will the winner of the travel prize.

The winners in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 2000 will be announced at a gala dinner in Wellington on Friday 11 August. The New Zealand Tourism Awards 2000 are sponsored by American Express and supported by Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand.

Category sponsors are Sky City, Telecom, Montana Wines and National Geographic Traveler Magazine.

ENDS

More information:

Simon King, Manager Government and Media Relations (04) 494 1845/ (025) 807 252

Simon King MANAGER, GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA RELATIONS TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION NEW ZEALAND Level 4 79 Boulcott Street WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND PH: 04 494 1845

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