Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Rotorua Canopy Tours wins supreme Tourism Award

Rotorua Canopy Tours wins supreme Tourism Award
September 30, 2016

Rotorua Canopy Tours, a business that in just four years has attracted large numbers of visitors while helping nature flourish, has been recognised with the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience – a three hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.

In recognising Rotorua Canopy Tours, the Award judges said this thriving business, just a 10 minute drive from downtown Rotorua, is an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

The judges stated “Rotorua Canopy Tours has demonstrated incredible progress. Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year, the business has reinvested into a new headquarters at the entrance to Rotorua and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance.”

As part of their prize, Rotorua Canopy Tours receives international air travel to any Air New Zealand destination valued at $10,000 (+GST) to help them grow their tourism business.

Rotorua Canopy Tours also won the Visitor Experience Award, supported by ServiceIQ, and the Environmental Award, supported by Mercury.

Chris Roberts, Chief Executive of Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), which owns and organises the Awards Programme, says Rotorua Canopy Tours is a complete product that “ticks all the boxes”.

Roberts stated “at the heart of its success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag.”

The industry’s most prestigious individual award, the Sir Jack Newman Award, supported by Crowe Horwath International, went to George Hickton, the man who drove the development of the tourism industry’s 100% Pure New Zealand international marketing brand.

It was Hickton’s most outstanding achievement during his successful 10 years as Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand from 1999 to 2009. 17 years on it remains the envy of tourism organisations worldwide.

The judges said the tourism industry continues to benefit from Hickton’s inspirational leadership. He is Chair of the Hawke’s Bay Tourism Board, a Weta Workshop Director, Hobbiton board member and has carved out a niche in the film tourism space, including most recently as the Project Director of Wellington’s new Movie Museum.

Roberts says this year’s Awards were extremely competitive, a reflection of a buoyant industry that is pumping billions of dollars into communities up and down the country and supporting several hundred thousand jobs. He says the awards programme is closely aligned to the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework which aspires to grow annual tourism revenue to $41 billion by 2025.

He concluded “we had entries from big corporates to small businesses, ranging from one operator that has been in business for over 100 years to our Supreme Award winner, an exciting young company achieving fantastic results in just four years of business.”

Backed by partners Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, the New Zealand Tourism Awards were announced at a black-tie dinner in Auckland last evening (29th September) attended by more than 300 industry leaders and supporters.

New Zealand Tourism Awards 2016 Winners

• Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Industry Award, and Environmental Tourism Award, supported by Mercury, and Visitor Experience Award, supported by ServiceIQ
Rotorua Canopy Tours

• Sir Jack Newman Award (outstanding industry leader) supported by Crowe Horwath International
George Hickton, Wellington

• Emerging Tourism Leader Award, supported by PATA New Zealand Trust
Bradley Garnett, SKYCITY Entertainment Group, Auckland

• Tourism Industry Champion Award, supported by Sudima Hotels & Resorts
Graeme Abbot, Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

• Business Excellence Award – annual turnover less than $6 million, supported by Westpac
Black Cat Cruises, Canterbury

• Business Excellence Award – annual turnover more than $6 million, supported by JLT & AIG
Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

• Industry Alignment Award, supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Destination Rotorua

• Maori Cultural Tourism Award, supported by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development
Waitangi Treaty Grounds

• People’s Choice Award, supported by NZME.
Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

• Tourism 2025 Enabler Award, supported by Auckland Airport
Angus & Associates Ltd

• Tourism Marketing Campaign Award, supported by Spark
Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours

Images: 2016 New Zealand Tourism Award winers Rotorua Canopy Tours (top) and George Hickton (below).





Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

ProSlide Technology

ProSlide is the global leader in water ride design and manufacturing, supplying high-performance water attractions to new and expanding water parks around the world. For over three decades, ProSlide…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Waterparks



Email for trade enquiries:  Customer support desk - Click Myzone support or go to ‘help’ on myzone app to access live support. Myzone® is the leading…

read more

Fitness / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Tim Batt Water Solutions

Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation / Technology / Venues


Summit Fitness

Summit Fitness Equipment is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness


BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Spill Station Australia

Compliant chemical storage and decanting solutions. Includes spill kits, spill containment pallets, chemical decanting decks and safety shower and eyewash equipment. See our full range of solutions

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Security / Venues



Gladstone Health & Leisure (Gladstone MRM Pty Ltd Australia) is a leading supplier of leisure management and fitness software and is endorsed by leading health and fitness professionals and…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Venues


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business