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Tai Tokerau Northland Operator Wins Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award

Bay of Islands tourism operator Carino Wildlife Cruises was announced as a winner at the Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards 2021 last night.

The awards took place at the Christchurch Art Centre and celebrated many outstanding tourism operators throughout New Zealand.

The awards recognise the highest quality tourism products in the market, particularly those committed to following best practice when it comes to sustainability, by looking after people and the natural environment.

Carino Wildlife Cruises had looked at the disruption in visitation over the last year as an opportunity to design an educational programme in partnership with stakeholders that would educate and inspire local tamariki, some of whom had never been out on the water before in the Bay of Islands.

Managing Director Vanessa McKay said: “For us it was an incredible honour just to be considered alongside the other amazing finalists. It has motivated us to want to be better and do more; to be the change we want to see in sustainable tourism and make an actual difference”.

Qualmark Enviro Gold accredited operator Dive! Tutukaka, who deliver world-class underwater experiences at the iconic Poor Knights Islands were also finalists in the 2021 awards.

GM Destination for Northland Inc, Tania Burt, was thrilled to hear about the win: “Time and again our Tai Tokerau Northland tourism industry pushes the envelope with their innovation, and this is another great example of how the region and its operators are committed to a journey for the positive benefit of our environment and communities.”

Award applicants are asked to explain why their product is a “100% Pure New Zealand” experience, a unique blend of landscapes, people and activities that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. They must also demonstrate how they are embracing the principles of manaakitanga, tiaki and whānau in their business. The judging panel was comprised of representatives from Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand who are industry leaders in manaakitanga and tourism sustainability.

With the challenges that tourism operators have been faced with recently, this year’s awards were seen as particularly meaningful. The awards evening was an opportunity for industry to reconnect and celebrate.

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