thl group photo - Waynne Williams thl group photo - Waynne Williams

NZ Tourism Awards winners

Dynamic and visionary with annual global turnover of $426 million, multinational recreational vehicle business Tourism Holdings Ltd has won the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.

The winners of the New Zealand Tourism Awards were announced at a gala dinner in Christchurch last week, attended by more than 400 industry leaders and supporters. thl also won the Auckland Airport Business Excellence Award - more than $6 million annual turnover.

The awards judges said thl is a global business that can hold its own on the world stage, an amazing success story and exemplar for New Zealand’s tourism industry.

Listed on the New Zealand stock exchange, thl looks after more than 200,000 customers a year, operating a global recreational vehicle fleet of more than 6000. Alongside its RV rental and sales operations, it also operates two additional tourism businesses in New Zealand - Discover Waitomo, including Waitomo Glowworm Caves; and Kiwi Experience, a bus network aimed at young backpackers.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says creating a tremendous crew culture has been integral to thl’s success. Investing in sustainability and innovation are also priorities, including developing electric motorhomes.

As part of their Air New Zealand Supreme Award prize, thl received a prize valued at over $20,000, including $10,000 international air travel and a full-page advertisement in Kia Ora magazine.

Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon says the airline is extremely proud to partner with the event once again and to sponsor the Tourism Awards’ Supreme Award for a fourth year. 

'With tourism the country’s largest export earner, it’s fantastic to be able to celebrate businesses who are providing outstanding and memorable experiences to visitors to our country and also contributing to New Zealand’s reputation overseas.'

Tourism’s most prestigious individual honour, the Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award, went to Kathy Guy, a tourism industry trail-blazer who rose through the ranks from waitress to become one of the first female hotel general managers in New Zealand, successfully leading the Chateau Tongariro Hotel and the Wairakei Resort Taupo.

Chris Roberts says this year’s awards were extremely competitive, a reflection of a thriving industry that is contributing $36 billion to the New Zealand economy and supporting almost 400,000 jobs in communities throughout the country.

'Positively, several award winners are from smaller communities, helping attract visitors to areas off the traditional tourist track. It’s also pleasing to see the focus our business winners are putting on environmental and host community sustainability, as well as financial performance.

The New Zealand Tourism Awards 2018 winners:

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award
Auckland Airport Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover

  • Tourism Holdings Ltd (thl)

Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award

  • Kathy Guy

PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award

  • Luke Taylor, Go Orange, Queenstown

JLT & AIG Tourism Industry Champion Award

  • Les Morgan, Sudima Hotels and Resorts

Westpac Business Excellence Award - Less than $6 million annual turnover

  • Owen River Lodge

Department of Conservation Environmental Tourism Award

  • Kapiti Island Nature Tours

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Industry Alignment Award

  • Hawke’s Bay Tourism

He Kai Kei Aku Ringa Māori Tourism Award

  • Whale Watch Kaikoura Ltd

The Great Journeys of New Zealand Tourism 2025 Enabler Award

  • Christchurch Airport

epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award

  • Air New Zealand

ServiceIQ Visitor Experience Award

  • GO Rentals

NZME People’s Choice Award

  • Forgotten World Adventures