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Young Tourism Entrepreneur recognised by Ernst and Young

Young Tourism Entrepreneur recognised by Ernst and Young

Global Accountancy Firm Ernst and Young have named Ryan Sanders, Founder and Director of Haka Tourism Group, as one of New Zealand’s Top Young Entrepreneurs for 2013

Mr Sanders was named as one of the country’s top young entrepreneurs in Ernst and Young’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year finalists function in Auckland last night. According to Mr Sanders, “It is great to be recognised in this award and especially proud to be representing the tourism industry – an industry I am very passionate about”.

The Entrepreneur of the Year award aims to recognise entrepreneurs who have shown ingenuity and perseverance and have developed a successful and growing business. There are 5 categories and Mr Sanders has been named as a finalist in the “Young Entrepreneur” category which is for business owners who are aged 35 years or under. The overall winner of the category is named on Aug 23 2013.

Commencing in 2007, Haka Tourism Groups core brand is “Haka Tours” which runs 7 to 24 day adventure and snow tours of NZ. In 2010, the company opened its first up-market backpackers, Haka Lodge Christchurch.

This was followed by Haka Lodge Queenstown in 2012 and the release of 2 sub-brands (1) Haka School Tours which targets international schools coming to New Zealand and (2) Haka Custom Tours, aimed at mid to high end budget travellers wanting a personalised tour of New Zealand.

2013 will see Sanders kick off a $2.5 million dollar transformation of a historic fashion-house in Auckland CBD into Haka Lodge Auckland, as he brings he enters the highly competitive Auckland hostel market.

This is not the only success for Mr Sanders and his expanding “Haka Tourism Group”. In 2010, he was the winner of the prestigious “New Zealand Young Tourism Entrepreneur” award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards presented by John Key. This was followed by scooping a major award where Haka Tours beat off competition from over 4000 tourism businesses to be named New Zealand’s top visitor activity for 2012. Both Haka Lodge Christchurch and Queenstown have been recognised in 2013 by winning numerous online awards for based on customer feedback.

Mr Sanders had never worked in tourism before starting Haka Tours. When asked about the keys to his success, Ryan comments “Make sure you spend equal time, effort and “blue sky thinking” about your customers, financials, staff and internal business processes. This distribution of equal time and effort should underpin the vision and strategy for your business. Furthermore, make sure you understand your default management personality – the “E-Myth” by Ronald Gerber is a great read.”

As a business Haka Tourism Groups’ strategy is to focus directly on consumers via online channels and has done since its inception, bucking the trend to be sold through the extensive network of travel agencies and wholesalers.

Sanders also noted the increasing role of Social Media, in particular Facebook, which is now accounting for a growing number of sales

“Winning an award like this will strengthen our online presence and also give our customers the peace of mind that they are dealing with one of New Zealand’s best tourism companies”, concludes Ryan.


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