New CEO Brings Wealth of Industry Experience
New CEO Brings Wealth of Industry Experience to YHA
YHA New Zealand today announced the appointment of Hugh Canard as Chief Executive Officer, a move which reinforces the organisation’s commitment to sustainable tourism.
Formerly a member of the Adventure Tourism Council and Chairman of Tourism Nelson, Canard comes to YHA from a role as Industry New Zealand Regional Economic Development Advisor.
Representing the modern face of YHA New Zealand will be a challenge that suits the entrepreneur. Previously an engineer with an interest in energy conservation, Canard left Canard Green Ltd (now Climatech) in 1992 to move to Nelson to take on a growing kayaking business. Under the management of Canard and his wife, Biddy, Ocean River Adventure Company grew steadily to include 20 staff and 6,000 clients a year. The company was honoured with the NZ Tourism Awards Small Operators Award in 1997.
During this time Canard was also a member of the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and the Sea Kayak Operators Association.
Canard believes in YHA’s capacity to show leadership and adaptability within a constantly changing industry.
“My goals for YHA New Zealand are relatively simple,” he says. “To ensure the founding principles govern our future actions, to excel at the business we are in, and to make the organisation relevant to our members.”
Canard first encountered the YHA network through his own tramping, climbing and skiing experience, in locations such as Mt Cook and Burkes Pass. His YHA experience has now been updated with visits to YHA Qualmark-rated hostels, where ensuite rooms and five-star facilities are not unusual.
“Like many Kiwis, my mental picture of YHA was somewhat based in the past.”
“I am personally committed to the values that YHA champions. Finding the balance between the environment, the economic benefits and social development is the first step,” says Canard. “Building a tourism industry that enhances each of these elements is the real challenge, and that is where I think YHA has a role to embody that goal, and influence the development of a sustainable tourism industry in New Zealand.”
As a not-for-profit organisation, YHA New Zealand focuses on a commitment to education through travel, and environmental conservation.
Its mission is to provide overseas and New Zealand members, a wide range of experiences through hostels, travel and activities, in order to enable them to increase their awareness of the world and its people, and contribute to their educational development.
YHA was founded in New Zealand in 1932, developing over seven decades into a unique network of 64 hostels nationwide with around 28,000 New Zealand members. YHA has been built by the efforts of volunteers who raised funds, personally constructed and managed many of the facilities. In 2001/02 the network recorded 500,000 guest overnights, around 85 percent from international travellers.
YHA New Zealand is a full member of the International Youth Hostels Federation, which is represented by the Hostelling International brand. Comprising over 4,500 hostels in 60 countries, this international focus allows members to enjoy the benefits and culture of a truly global network, whether travelling locally or overseas.