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Southern Discoveries named Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year

September 25, 2013 Accolades No Comments Email Email

Multi award-winning tourism company Southern Discoveries has been named Tourism Operator of the Year at the Destination Fiordland awards ceremony celebrating success in Fiordland tourism businesses.

The premier South Island tourism company took out the title at the ceremony held in Te Anau on Saturday 21 September.

Southern Discoveries was praised for its “passion and desire to provide a genuine visitor experience.” They have been operating for over 50 years in the Fiordland region, described as a ‘significant accomplishment’.(L-R) Accepting the award on behalf of the team Liz Newell, John Robson, Marie Meachen_media

Rachel Cockburn, Trust Manager of the Fiordland Conservation Trust (FCT), nominated Southern Discoveries for the award, citing the company’s “genuine, community- minded, and innovative approach to the visitor experience in Milford” as the reason.

“In the last five years, Southern Discoveries has developed its business in a sustainable and innovative fashion to provide exceptional customer service and experience for visitors to Milford,” she said.

Mrs Cockburn said the company’s strategic approach to growing its range of products for visitors was another key attribute for the nomination.

She praised Southern Discoveries’ continued commitment to conservation through the Sinbad Sanctuary project in conjunction with the Fiordland Conservation Trust and the Department of Conservation.

“As well as offering significant financial support to the Sinbad Sanctuary project, Southern Discoveries’ staff assist with the regular work in the Gully, enabling them to have experiences that are very rare,” she said.

“It gives them the enthusiasm and knowledge to educate visitors on the unique region they are visiting,” said Mrs Cockburn.

Southern Discoveries’ commitment in the Fiordland region includes the development and enhancement of the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory. It now offers incredible history, stories and information on the Milford area including avalanches, the Homer Tunnel, the marine area in which they operate and of course the company’s role in conservation of the area.

In 2011 the company also introduced a new kayaking option into Milford Sound that is accessible to even the most inexperienced kayakers and explores serene Harrisons Cove.

With four information centres in Queenstown and Te Anau, International Account Managers and a strong online presence Mrs Cockburn also highlighted Southern Discoveries’ commitment to promoting Te Anau as a destination as “valuable to the local community”.

Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson accepted the award on behalf of the team and said it was “an honour to receive this award from our peers in the Fiordland area”.

“We work hard to provide a consistently exceptional Milford Sound experience to visitors”, said Mr Robson.

“We have a genuine desire to both actively promote Fiordland as a must-visit destination, while also ensuring this natural wonder is preserved for many years to come.

“Through education, conservation and active participation, we take great pride in showcasing what is essentially our backyard to the world.”

Mr Robson also thanked the Fiordland Conservation Trust and Rachel Cockburn for their nomination.

“Our Sinbad Sanctuary Project is a wonderful example of commercial and government agencies working together to protect a special area.  The project would not have been possible or been so successful without the work of Rachel and the Trust.”

The annual Fiordland Tourism Awards celebrate the success of local tourism businesses, recognising those that actively promote the region. Nominees are assessed on their dedication to the industry, innovation and creativity, community contributions, strategic focus, environmental awareness and must have a genuine belief in providing a quality visitor experience in Fiordland’s ‘back yard’.

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