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Hotel group wins Supreme Tourism Award

A New Zealand hotel group that is excelling as an employer and in environmental sustainability is the winner of the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.

Sudima Hotels were also named as the winners of the Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award and the Enviro-Mark Solutions Environmental Award at a gala dinner in Christchurch this evening (Thursday 24 October). The event was attended by more than 430 industry leaders and supporters.

The Awards judges said Sudima is getting better all the time, with a broad range of superb initiatives that are making a difference to the business, the environment and the wider community.

Starting as a family business, Sudima has expanded rapidly, with four properties in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch, including the recently opened Sudima Christchurch City. Two more will open in Auckland City and Kaikōura in 2020.

Sudima actively strives to reduce its environmental footprint, and ensure it is inclusive and welcoming of all guests and staff, whatever their background or needs. Its properties are designed to be accessible to all, regardless of physical ability.

Sudima was the first hotel group in New Zealand to be awarded a carboNZero certification. Its environmental efforts extend to its suppliers, who are selected for their commitment to sustainability.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts says creating a tremendous staff culture has been integral to Sudima’s success.

“The judges described Sudima CEO Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala as a visionary in his people approach which is best summed up as ‘look after your people and they look after your business’. The results are showing in Sudima’s exceptionally strong staff retention rates,” Mr Roberts says.

Sudima Hotels receives a prize valued at over $20,000, including $10,000 international air travel and a full-page advertisement in Air New Zealand’s Kia Ora magazine.

Watch this interview with Sudima’s Director of Hotels, Les Morgan, where he discusses how the business values its people.

Tourism’s most prestigious individual honour, the Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award, went to Glenys Coughlan, who has enjoyed a stellar career in tourism. Using her well-developed commercial skills and flair for creative thinking, she has led organisation change and industry transformation initiatives at national and regional levels. Her roles have included high profile management positions at Air New Zealand, New Zealand Tourism Industry Association (now Tourism Industry Aotearoa), Positively Wellington Venues and Tourism Central Otago.

She also has extensive governance experience, serving on numerous tourism boards, including Tourism New Zealand, Te Papa, Dunedin Venues Management, ATEED and Sounds Air. She has chaired Positively Wellington Tourism, the PATA New Zealand Trust and Outward Bound New Zealand.

Mr Roberts says this year’s Awards were extremely competitive, a reflection of a thriving industry that is providing economic, environmental and social benefits to New Zealanders and Aotearoa.

The 2019 Awards were updated to align with the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, recognising environmentally sustainable and financially successful tourism businesses that embrace kaitiakitanga. Three new awards – for Community Engagement, Employer of Choice, and Economic Success – attracted strong interest from entrants.

More than 110 tourism businesses and individuals entered the awards. They were whittled down to 37 finalists from around New Zealand.

“It’s pleasing to see the focus our business winners are putting on environmental and host community sustainability, as well as financial performance,” Mr Roberts says.

He thanked the Awards Partners, Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for their generous support.

2019 New Zealand Tourism Awards winners

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award

Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award

Enviro-Mark Solutions Environmental Award

Sudima Hotels

Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

• Glenys Coughlan

Marsh Tourism Industry Champion Award

Fergus Brown, Holiday Parks New Zealand

PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award

Trent Yeo, Ziptrek Ecotours, Queenstown

Auckland Airport Tourism Sustainability Business Excellence Award – more than $6m annual turnover

Air New Zealand

Tourism Ticker Tourism Sustainability Business Excellence Award – less than $6m annual turnover

Redwoods Treewalk & Nightlights, Rotorua

Community Engagement Award

Stray & Kohutapu Lodge, Murupara

Department of Conservation - Conservation Award

Black Cat Cruises, Akaroa

Westpac Economic Success Award

Skyline Queenstown

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Industry Connections Award

Development West Coast – Tourism

The Great Journeys of New Zealand Industry Enabler Award

• Department of Conservation – 2018-19 ‘Kiwi Way’ summer visitor campaign

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Māori Tourism Award

MDA Experiences, Rotorua

Angus & Associates Visitor Experience Award

Owen River Lodge, Murchison

NZME People’s Choice Award

Forgotten World Adventures, Taumarunui

About the New Zealand Tourism Awards
The New Zealand Tourism Awards 2019 are run by TIA, with Award Partners Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

Thanks to our Award Supporters
Angus & Associates, Auckland Airport, Department of Conservation, Enviro-Mark Solutions, The Great Journeys of New Zealand, operated and owned by Kiwirail, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa, Horwath HTL, Marsh, NZME, PATA New Zealand Trust, Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust, Tourism Talent, Tourism Ticker and Westpac.

Thanks to our Event Supporters
Christchurch Casino, ChristchurchNZ, Hamish Fletcher Lawyers, Outward Bound, Pacific Tourways, Monteith’s, New Zealand Māori Tourism and Vbase.

For more information on the New Zealand Tourism Awards, visit


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