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World First Green Tourism Scheme A Hit In Japan

MEDIA RELEASE

October 20, 2008

World First Green Tourism Scheme A Hit In Japan

New Zealand's world-leading green tourism verification scheme - Qualmark Green - has been picked up by Japan' and Asia's largest travel agency, JTB.

The launch announcement was made last week (October 16) at the

New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo by JTB President and CEO Mr Hiromi Tagawa, and represents the beginning of a unique partnership between Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and JTB in Japan.

"The Qualmark Green-accredited luxury tour to New Zealand is the first of its kind in the world, providing a range of environmentally-sustainable

New Zealand travel products in one package," said Mr Hiromi Tagawa, President and CEO of JTB Corporation.

"New Zealand is the only country in the world with such a robust quality assessment program incorporating strict environmental sustainability practices, fully supported by their national airline," Mr Tagawa added.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive George Hickton said the fact that JTB, one of the largest travel agencies in the world, had recognised the credibility and the benefits of Qualmark and Qualmark Green was extremely encouraging.

"Qualmark Green, combined with Air New Zealand's world leading research development of biofuel, carbon offset-program and environment trust and other industry initiatives, means New Zealand is truly taking a sustainable tourism leadership stance on the world stage."

Air New Zealand Deputy CEO Norm Thompson said it was an excellent example of New Zealand leading the way in creating a sustainable tourism future.

"Air New Zealand is committed to being the world's most environmentally-sustainable airline. We are excited about this new initiative with JTB and Tourism New Zealand. It allows us to work with like-minded partners to raise environmental awareness and help to drive change," Mr Thompson said.

Qualmark CEO Geoff Penrose said the development of the JTB tour, including top performers in the area, was positive evidence of the level of trade interest in what the industry is delivering.

"Qualmark particularly congratulates the businesses eligible to be involved," he said.

Background

* JTB's 'Royal Road', using a theme of eco-luxury, has packaged up an itinerary featuring almost exclusively Qualmark and Qualmark-Green accredited tourism operators in New Zealand including: Millbrook Resort Queenstown, Huka Lodge in Taupo, The Langham Hotel in Auckland, Johnstons Coachlines, and Real Journeys in Milford Sound.

* The Royal Road tour also includes a certified carbon-offset contribution for participants' Air New Zealand travel.

* All Royal Road customers will have a tree planted in their name, with GPS tracking, at Mangarara station in the Hawke's bay - as part of Air New Zealand's Environmental Trust programme.

* Other JTB package tour brands 'Look' and 'Grand Tour' have also launched new itineraries based on Qualmark-only accredited operators.

* JTB is aiming to include only Qualmark accredited suppliers in its package tours within the next year.

Qualmark

* New Zealand's official mark of quality for tourism

* Owned by Tourism New Zealand and the New Zealand Automobile Association.

* A quality assurance accreditation system, including accommodation star gradings, and an endorsement system for visitor transport, service and activities.

* There are now over 2,150 Qualmark licence-holders

* Qualmark Green includes three levels of recognition for performers in responsible tourism; Qualmark Enviro-Gold, Enviro-Silver and Enviro-Bronze.

* Visit www.qualmark.co.nz and www.responsibletourism.co.nz for more information.

Air New Zealand

* Air New Zealand has a long-term goal to become the world's most environmentally sustainable airline and is committed to taking a global leadership role in environmental issues.

* This initiative is one of many examples of Air New Zealand working locally in offshore markets to help develop long term sustainable tourism.

* www.airnewzealand.co.nz

ENDS


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