Whale Watch Kaikoura takes out Supreme Award
Whale Watch Kaikoura takes out Supreme Award at international tourism awards
This Release has been edited: Chief Operating Officer Kauahi Ngapora not Ngapoura
Whale Watch Kaikoura has outshone some of the world’s leading tour operators to claim the Supreme award at this year’s Responsible Tourism Awards in London.
The awards were held last night (NZ time), as part of World Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London. The event, the largest of its kind in the world, attracts more than 5000 exhibitors from more than 200 countries and the awards ceremony is the centrepiece.
The awards were launched in 2004 and are run in association with World Travel Market, the Daily Telegraph, Geographical Magazine and BBC World News.
Whale Watch Kaikoura chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora said he was overwhelmed by the award which saw the South Island-based operation edge out tourism giants and fellow finalists, including the City of Cape Town, Royal Caribbean Cruises and SeaFrance.
“I am honoured to accept the award on behalf of Whale Watch Kaikoura, and New Zealand. To be chosen as the best against the world’s leading responsible tourism operators is a humbling experience,” Mr Ngapora said.
Whale Watch Kaikoura was one of 35 organisations shortlisted for honours and among hundreds throughout the world nominated for the prestigious awards..
The announcement that Whale Watch Kaikoura had been awarded the Supreme award followed success for the organisation in the Marine Environment category.
Mr Ngapora said to collect a category award was a huge honour but he was “blown away” when Whale Watch Kaikoura was announced Supreme winner.
“This award is a mark of success for not only Whale Watch Kaikoura but to the many people of our community who support the success of our business and provide true hospitality to the many tens of thousands of people who visit Kaikoura.”
Whale Watch Kaikoura Chairman Wally Stone applauded the high number of nominations and the quality of those competing.
“It is a pleasing sign that the sustainable and responsible message has been embraced enthusiastically by so many operators and tourists around the world.
“Sustainability and responsibility as a host, both to our guests and to the community that we share, have been driving themes for our organisation in the 22 years we have been in operation.
"Whale Watch Kaikoura founder Bill Solomon instilled a deep respect for the environment and a strong sense of community in our organisation from our first day of operation. It is a deep respect for the environment that embraces responsibility for the protection and nurturing of our natural resources to ensure they remain gifts we can continue share.”
Mr Stone said the company also embraced innovation and "the use of the very best the world had to offer to ensure the comfort and experience of our visitors was the very best it could be.”