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Southern Discoveries named Operator of the Year 2011

August 18 2011

Southern Discoveries named Operator of the Year 2011

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Premier tourism company Southern Discoveries Ltd, based in Te Anau and Queenstown, has been named Operator of the Year 2011 by the Inbound Tour Operators Council (ITOC).

The win was announced at the annual ITOC awards night held in Tauranga last night (Wednesday August 17).

The award has been running since 1982 and is awarded to the tourism supplier as voted by inbound tour operators (ITOC full members), recognising excellence and an outstanding visitor experience.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the company had been through an exciting phase of growth and development over the past year.

“It’s rewarding for us to see our strategic planning from previous years coming to fruition, and humbling to have that recognised by the industry,” he said.

“We’ve strived to be innovative, flexible and responsive in order to develop strong relationships with our inbound tour operators, and it’s a huge honour to have this recognised.”

Operating for over 50 years, Southern Discoveries was was bought by the Skeggs Group in late 2008. New ownership reinvigorated the company, with a rebrand in 2009 from Milford Sound Red Boats to Southern Discoveries Ltd reflecting a strong management strategy to improve and consolidate Milford Sound operations while also exploring opportunities for expansion outside of Milford and boat operations.

In line with their strategic direction Southern Discoveries has expanded its business during 2010 and 2011, investing in a 50% shareholding in Kawarau Jet and the purchase of Queenstown Fishing Guides and Charters.

Plans for further expansion in the Queenstown market are underway with consent granted to operate a 150-person catamaran on Lake Wakatipu, visiting Mt Nicholas Station and creating C&I opportunities.

Southern Discoveries also consolidated its Milford offering with the re-opening of the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory in 2010, the purchase of Go Milford Coach & Cruise business based in Te Anau, and by gaining consent to operate a kayak venture off the Discovery Centre in Harrisons Cove.

Southern Discoveries operates four luxury cruise boats in Milford. Each boat has been specifically designed with the customer experience in mind, catering for smaller groups of 75 passengers up to 400. The company operates 11 daytime cruises in summer and five in winter.

In addition to cruise boats, Southern Discoveries also operates the Milford Discovery Centre & Milford Deep Underwater Observatory, the Blue Duck Café & Bar in Milford and information and booking centres in Queenstown and Te Anau.

In Queenstown the Queenstown Princess offers daily lake cruises, and a smaller vessel offers private fishing charters with an experienced fishing guide.

Kawarau Jet operates from the Main Town Pier in Queenstown, and with Southern Discoveries now offers a number of exclusive flexible jet boat options including airport transfers, jet boat/helicopter combos and personalised C&I options.

Achievements in 2010 have included being awarded Qualmark Enviro Silver rating in 2010, and winning the Southland Conservation Corporate Award 2011 for its commitment to the Sinbad Sanctuary conservation project in partnership with the Fiordland Conservation Trust.

“We firmly believe that our activities and achievements over the past two years strongly illustrate our commitment to creating and maintaining a leading tourism experience in one of New Zealand’s most iconic settings,” said Mr Robson.


© Scoop Media

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