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Whale Watch named Canterbury’s No.1 host

Media Release – October 3

Whale Watch named Canterbury’s No.1 host

Leading New Zealand nature tourism operator Whale Watch Kaikoura was last night named Canterbury’s No.l host in the region’s first annual Champion Awards.

The Canterbury Chamber of Commerce award comes on the back of a string of international awards for Whale Watch including the Centennial Honours Awards made by Tourism New Zealand in 2001. Whale Watch received the award for being the key contributor to New Zealand tourism for the decade 1991 to 2001.

Whale Watch is a privately owned company which conducts sea tours to view whales and other marine life off the Kaikoura coast.

Founded in 1988 by a small group of Ngai Tahu families, the business has grown from one eight-seater vessel to a fleet of four purpose built catamarans.

“We are thrilled to win this Champions prestigious award,’’ Whale Watch general manager of operations Marcus Solomon said today.

“Canterbury as a region has so much to offer, it is a real honour to be here, we will continue to strive for excellence and be that great Kiwi host”.

Whale Watch hosts tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every year, sharing with them breathtaking scenery and marine wildlife.

The company recently introduced new technology to enhance the visitors’ experience. While in their seats, visitors on board their boats are guided on a virtual journey to the bottom of the Kaikoura canyon into the home of the whales.

Over 85 percent of Whale Watch passengers are from overseas with 70 percent of these coming from the northern hemisphere. The company employs up to 150 staff.
Over the last three years, growth increase was forecast at 23 percent whereas actual growth was 43 percent. Revenue increased 33 percent in the last 12 months compared with the previous year.

Last year Whale watch bought 170ha of land on the Kaikoura Peninsula for the purpose of establishing a number of land based tourism activities. A Kaikoura District Council decision on the project is due within the next two to three months. WWK has spent around $5 million dollars on this project to date including the purchase of land.


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