Keeping up with trends
Fiordland’s tourism operators of the year say they watch global tourism trends closely to stay current in tourism in New Zealand.
More than 100 people gathered at the Te Anau Club on Friday night as Destination Fiordland celebrated 41 years of annual Tourism Awards.
Sandfly Cafe owners Carolyn and Doug Fox were awarded the AWS Legal Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year 2017.
Carolyn Fox said she and her husband have operated the cafe for almost 11 years, but this year was the first time they had been up for an award.
The couple tried to keep up to date with global trends because they were dealing with customers from around the world.
One of the biggest mistakes they made was taking a long time to sort out free wifi for their customers because it was something that was standard everywhere else in the world, Fox said.
They also tried to offer food to that catered to different dietary requirements, she said.
The couple always looked for faster ways of doing things or areas where they could speed up their service because many tourists were in a hurry, she said.
They felt privileged just to be nominated for the award by somebody, let alone to beat out the others in their category, Fox said.
At the end of the day, the couple tried to look after the locals in Te Anau and saw all the other customers who came into the cafe as a bonus.
It was the locals who supported them through the summer sending the tourists their way, so they kept the same hours through the winter for locals who wanted coffee and food, Fox said.
Fiordland Tourism Personality of the Year 2018 was awarded to Catherine Brimecombe for her enthusiasm and commitment to conservation and her dedication at the Te Anau Bird Sanctuary.
The Family Award for Innovation was presented to Fiordland Escapes, a new adventure game started by Kirsty and David Pickett.
The Motel Association Service Plus Award 2018 went to Casey Brown for her outstanding service and commitment to the community.
Photographer Barry Harcourt received a special acknowledgement at the Tourism Awards for his dedication to showcasing Fiordland through his photography, capturing newsworthy incidents, happenings and events in the local region and creating wonderful local wildlife and landscape images.
First established in 1977 the Fiordland Tourism Awards were originally initiated by the Fiordland Branch of an organisation called the National Travel Association.
It was decided that it would be beneficial to the local tourism industry to have an annual gathering that celebrated tourism in the region and which also acknowledged those from the community who had made contributions towards industry promotion.
The Tourism Personality of the Year Award has been celebrated annually since 1977 making it one of New Zealand’s longest running industry awards.
The guest speaker at the awards night was Noel Walker who spoke about his unwavering support and experience with the Kepler Challenge during the past 30 years.
Sandfly Cafe owners Carolyn and Doug Fox with their children Libby, 9, Gabbie, 12, Harper, 4, and Cameron, 7, won the AWS Legal Fiordland Tourism Operator of the Year 2017 award at Destination Fiordland’s 41st Annual Fiordland Tourism Awards.