Keep­ing up with trends

The Southland Times - - News - Stuff re­porters

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.

BARRY HARCOURT

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.

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