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Whale Watch Kaikoura finalists in top awards

Whale Watch Kaikoura among finalists in top international tourism awards

Whale Watch Kaikoura has been named among some of the world’s leading tourism operators as a finalist in the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards 2009.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony held as part of World Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London, on Wednesday November 11.

Launched in 2004, the awards are run in association with World Travel Market, the Daily Telegraph, Geographical Magazine and BBC World News.

Whale Watch Kaikoura chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapoura, who is attending the awards ceremony, said he was honoured to represent New Zealand at such prestigious awards.

“I feel privileged to be nominated among the world’s best in what are the Oscars of the responsible tourism sector. It is wonderful that tourism operations that walk the walk when it comes to doing the right thing by the communities we serve and the environment are acknowledged in this way.

“This achievement further endorses Whale Watch Kaikoura’s commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism and to the five ’Cs’ which underpin our business decision making - conservation, community, culture, customer and company."

The finalists were selected by a panel of 13 judges at a recent judging day held at The Royal Geographical Society, London. Dr. Harold Goodwin, chair of the judges and Professor of Responsible Tourism Management at Leeds Metropolitan University said:

"Working our way through this year's long lists, we were impressed by the willingness of so many organisations to take responsibility and to do what they can to help make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit. This year over 140 submitted detailed responses to our questionnaire and we received hundreds of references."

Mr Ngapoura said New Zealand had enjoyed significant success at the awards, winning the global award for responsible tourism and an award for best destination at last year's event.

"Whale Watch Kaikoura has remained committed to sustainable and responsible tourism. It is wonderful to be acknowledged and awarded for concepts that have been the driving belief for our business in the more than 22 years we have been in operation, Mr Ngapoura said.

"The awards nomination caps off another incredible year, with further growth in our Australian expansion, the launch of our sixth vessel, state-of-the-art whale watching boat Wawahia. We are also on track for another strong year with passenger numbers expected to exceed 100,000 again this year. We are very grateful for the support of the judges."

The awards winners will be announced Wednesday evening November 11, NZ time.

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