Queenstown-based Dart River Jet, part of the Ngāi Tourism portfolio, has won gold in the Product Innovation category at the CTW (Chinese Tourist Welcome) Awards, part of the China Outbound Tourism & Travel Market (COTTM) held last week in Beijing.
COTTM is China’s leading outbound travel exhibition, the industry’s only business-to-business event focusing purely on the burgeoning outbound market.
The awards recognize the efforts of companies and organisations going the extra mile to please the Chinese traveller, developing tailored marketing strategies and providing quality services for the Chinese market.
Ngāi Tahu Tourism Chief Executive Quinton Hall said the company was “thrilled” to receive the CTW Award.
“The China Tourist Welcome Awards are only granted to those who show a genuine heartfelt welcome to Chinese visitors,” he said.
“The Dart River team has always prided itself on the manaaki extended towards our guests, so the team is humbled that our service has been recognized as the world’s best!
“The Chinese market is extremely important to Ngāi Tahu Tourism. Nearly 300,000 Chinese customers visited our attractions between February 2015 and February 2016, which is around 70% of all Chinese arrivals into New Zealand.
“The award is a reflection of our commitment and focus towards this market.”
Dart River Jet has undergone significant change in the last three years and like the majority of Ngāi Tahu Tourism operations it has increased its focus and developed experiences specifically for Chinese visitors.
In late 2013 it introduced Glenorchy Discovery, a new half-day trip aimed at the Asian tour group market and Chinese visitors in particular.
The Glenorchy Discovery experience was an immediate hit with the booming Chinese market, with visitors enjoying a scenic drive, short jet boat trip, a nature walk guided by magical characters and a backroad tour that includes feeding farm animals.
Another key development included introducing a multi-lingual ‘GPS triggered’ commentary system KRUSE. The Mandarin version has worked extremely well, reaching out across the language barrier and ensuring customers experience a journey of discovery in addition to the Dart River valley’s stunning scenery.
Product development aimed at the Chinese market, married with strong local and international sales and marketing, has seen Dart River become a ‘must do’ for these visitors, resulting in a 700 percent increase in Chinese visitor numbers over the last three years.
Ngāi Tahu Tourism received the Auckland International Airport Award for Excellence in Tourism at the HSBC China Business Awards in May 2015. Organised by the New Zealand China Trade Association, these awards are held every two years to recognise businesses conducting successful Chinese trade.