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Hokitika Gets Congrats From All Over

September 30, 2003

Hokitika Gets Congrats From All Over

The response to the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival winning a major New Zealand tourism award earlier this month has been almost as good as winning the award.

Festival owner representative, Westland District Council General Manager Robin Reeves, said it has been a boost for a small town of only 3300 people with the rest of the nation sitting up and taking notice of the professionalism West Coasters display in staging their annual extravaganza of gourmet bush tucker.

Tourism Minister Mark Burton has written to festival organiser Mike Keenan with congratulations, saying the award recognised the standards of excellence the festival organisation demonstrated in all aspects of tourism business practice.

"Indeed, your success at the awards acknowledges you as a model of best practice amongst over 16,000 tourism businesses that operate throughout the country," Mr Burton said.

"Considering the turbulent global environment that New Zealand has been operating and flourishing in over the last two years, this is no small feat. The rigour of this year's judging process has ensured that those awarded are undoubtedly one of the best in a top performing and highly competitive sector."

Mr Burton hoped the festival's participation in the Tourism Awards process would allow the festival organisers to reflect on their strengths and accomplishments as well as being useful in identifying future opportunities. "I trust that your organisation will continue to reap the rewards of this achievement over the forthcoming year," Mr Burton said.

High praise came from the Tourism Industry showing that the festival has helped put the wild character of the West Coast firmly on the tourism map.

Tourism Industry Association chief executive John Moriarty said that winning a tourism award positioned the festival up with the best, giving it recognition and a higher profile both in New Zealand and around the world.

Congratulatory messages had flooded in from the diverse group of hospitable Coasters and adventurous gourmets who make the festival the success it is. In this respect the judges said the savvy branding and use of the media, while always recognizing a West Coast point of difference, showed that the organisers had a clear understanding of the event’s strengths and played to them.

Festival organiser Mike Keenan, said all locals deserved a pat on the back for the Award, "The Hokitika community itself is the X-factor in the Festival's ongoing success," he said.

The Fifteenth Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is being held on Saturday March 13, 2004.


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