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Finalists in Young Tourism Professional of year

Finalists announced in the PATA Young Tourism Professional of the Year Award
Innovators leading the way with sustainable tourism practices

The three finalists for this year’s PATA Young Tourism Professional Award have been named.

The Award, which is part of the Tourism Industry Awards, managed by the Tourism Industry Association (TIA), recognises talented young individuals in the tourism sector who due to their passion, innovation and commitment to professional excellence are making a real difference within the industry.

This year’s finalists in the 2008 PATA Young Tourism Professional Award are:
• Allan Forsdick, Managing Director of Awaroa Lodge
• Mark Gilbert, Managing Director of Hassle-free Tours
• William Goodfellow, Managing Director of Explore NZ

Further information on each of the finalists can be found below.

PATA NZ Trust Chairperson, Neil Plimmer, says the quality of entries was extremely high this year.

“It is very inspiring to see so many top young tourism professionals entering the competition. Choosing only three finalists was difficult, but these individuals are each making a real difference to tourism in New Zealand and setting an example that others can aspire to.

“The tourism industry is facing tough times at the moment. However, this year’s finalists have shown that by identifying a niche, ensuring that they have a quality product and paying more than lip service to sustainable development, there will always be a demand within the market. Given the market that we are operating in, it is important to recognise these remarkable people who play a critical role in shaping the future success of our country’s tourism industry,” he says.

The Award includes a grant of $1,500 from the PATA NZ Trust to advance the professional development of emerging talent in the New Zealand tourism industry.

TIA Chief Executive Tim Cossar says each finalist is making a strong contribution to the future success of the New Zealand tourism industry.

“They are not only the leaders of the future – they are the leaders of today, demonstrating commitment and passion for creating and delivering world-class visitor experiences. We can all be proud that people of such talent are part of our tourism industry.

“Previous winners of this award have included people like Malcolm Johns, Chief Executive of InterCity Group, one of New Zealand’s biggest tourism businesses, and Paul Bingham, Managing Director of Black Cat Cruises, who has recently been appointed to the board of Air New Zealand.”

The winner will be announced at the Tourism Industry Awards Celebration Dinner at the Christchurch Convention Centre on Tuesday, 5 August.


About the finalists:

Allan Forsdick
Allan, 30, is Managing Director at Awaroa Lodge, situated in a remote location in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park. The lodge provides luxury accommodation and dining and outdoor and event facilities. The Lodge has a strong commitment to sustainability and eco-tourism, having recently received a Wetland Care New Zealand award for its wetlands restoration project. Allan has been instrumental in developing the lodge’s environmental sustainability strategy. Seasonality is a major challenge for Awaroa and the commercial success of the Lodge is a real achievement.

Mark Gilbert
Mark, 29, is Managing Director of Hassle-free Tours, a company offering scenic tour experiences in the Canterbury region, including the Lord of the Rings tour, 4WD Jet Boat adventure and Alpine Safari tour. He started the business with his partner Nikki upon returning to New Zealand from the UK in 2003 and has carried over 11,500 clients since then. Hassle-free continues to innovate, having been the first company in New Zealand to convert its entire fleet to biodiesel to minimise the environmental footprint, and investing in communications technology that supports guest safety in tough alpine environments.

William Goodfellow
William, 32, is Managing Director of Explore NZ, a company offering marine and adventure based tours in Auckland and the Bay of Islands. Over eight years, he has grown the business from offering sailing trips on a single ex-America’s Cup yacht to an excursion tourism company incorporating four iconic brands and offering yacht and catamaran sailing, whale and dolphin safaris, dining cruises and scenic tours. In 2007 Explore NZ developed a code of corporate environmental conduct, CarbonGreen™, which is a demonstration of Explore NZ’s dedication to environmental awareness and accountability. In addition, William has worked on the Sustainable Tourism Charter in Northland and continues to contribute to environmental issues.

About PATA NZ Trust:
PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) is an international organisation committed to sustainable growth and development of the global tourism industry.

The PATA New Zealand Trust was founded to support this aim and established the PATA Young Tourism Professional Awards in 2001 as part of the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) annual Tourism Industry Awards.

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