Heli Glenorchy acquires Heliworks Queenstown – builds on brand for future

Heli Glenorchy, owned by Action Helicopters Limited and one of the Southern Lakes’ top scenic helicopter companies, has announced the acquisition of Heliworks Queenstown.

Heli Glenorchy director and chief pilot Nick Nicholson and co-director and maintenance controller Blair Christmas said they were proud and delighted to announce the move, which comes into effect today (Tuesday 1 September 2020).

Heliworks Queenstown was founded by the legendary Sir Richard (Hannibal) Hayes, who is renowned for extraordinary feats of search and rescue in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

Meanwhile Heli Glenorchy’s Nick Nicholson grew up in Te Anau and has spent the majority of his flying career in the mountains of Fiordland, the Southern Lakes region and Alaska, including invaluable time spent working for Sir Richard.

Nick’s love and intimate knowledge of flying in the region led him to set up Heli Glenorchy five years ago.

Heli Glenorchy operates from the Glenorchy Airstrip on the doorstep of the Southern Alps, Mount aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. The five-year-old company boasts a modern fleet of helicopters, a 100% safety record, highly-experienced local pilots and access to remote locations with spectacular alpine scenery.

Heliworks Queenstown Helicopters 2012 Ltd has a proven reputation for excellence. It offers a wide range of Queenstown and Glenorchy scenic flight experiences, and provides a range of helicopter services from search and rescue and commercial operations to filming and tourism.

Heliworks Queenstown is also renowned for its proposals and wedding services, working with professional wedding photographers, celebrants and planners to fly wedding parties to unique locations.

Nick and Blair said it was a “privilege” to take the reins of such an iconic brand.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and challenge that lies ahead,” said Nick.

“Hannibal built this brand from the ground up, and I was lucky enough to work beside him for a number of years. Taking this business into the future is now a dream realised, even in these trying times.”

Hannibal said he was proud to see Heliworks Queenstown going into the safe and capable hands of Nick, who he respected both as a former employee and director of another locally-operated and family-owned helicopter company.

“My wife Carol and I are happy to hand on the baton to Nick who we’re sure will continue the good name we’ve strived so long to establish,” he said.

“Nick’s a good kiwi bloke and has a close-knit, talented team including local pilots. They’re specialists in both commercial operations and scenic experiences.

“I’m sure the company will continue as it always has done, offering efficient, high-quality service with safety and professionalism as its highest priority, building on the reputation we’ve established and cherishing our history.”

Sir Richard and Lady Carol Hayes will continue to operate Southern Lakes Helicopters Ltd in Fiordland and the Mount Cook operations.  “We are looking forward to a close working relationship with the new Heliworks team.”

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Fiordland locals encouraged to ‘Host A Holiday’ for friends and family

Fiordland has come up with a unique initiative encouraging locals to invite their friends and family into town, just in time for the September school holidays.

Businesses have jumped at the opportunity to be part of ‘Host A Holiday’, providing locals with something free-of-charge if they bring full paying out-of-towners to their business.

Te Anau owner-operator Christine Wallace from Fiordland Outdoors Company, says getting locals out to experience what Fiordland has to offer, and bring all their friends, is a real win for businesses.

“Word of mouth can be very powerful and we’ve got a lot to see and do in Fiordland, still at a really affordable price.”

Christine’s business, which provides guided tours in Fiordland including water transport for the Milford and Kepler tracks, is one of 17 businesses taking part in the initiative including fellow tourism operators, restaurants, cafes, accommodation providers and even the local cinema.

“We want this community to get back on its feet and help itself. If we all work together it’s amazing what we can do, especially given what we’ve been through.

“We’ve got to keep coming up with these unique ideas because we’re in competition with every corner of New Zealand at the moment and we’re putting up our hand and saying ‘here, pick Fiordland for your next holiday’.”

Christine hopes the initiative will have a flow on effect following the school holidays, providing an opportunity to bring old friends and family together in Fiordland all year round.

As a town which relies heavily on tourism, Fiordland has taken a big hit, first with the floods in February this year followed by Covid-19.

Destination Fiordland General Manager Madeleine Peacock says she’s confident the initiative will give this resilient area another boost.

“It’s all about getting in behind our hometowns, we know why Te Anau Fiordland are special. There’s never been a better time for locals to get out and about in their own backyards and we’re asking them to encourage friends from all around New Zealand to get down here while they can have the place to themselves!

“The scenery, the activities, our great food and accommodation and superb locals welcome have never changed, but with borders still closed there’s never been a better time to explore.

“Bring Mum, Dad, the kids and grandparents, we promise they’ll have a superb time.”

Although locals are being invited to ‘host’ their friends and family, it doesn’t mean they have to stay with them. Visitors are being encouraged to stay with local accommodation providers while in the area.

Locals taking part need to provide proof of residence within the Te Anau Basin, Manapouri or Milford Sound regions and are also being asked to write a review, blog or social media post about the business, to help keep the momentum going.

Business providers include Sandfly Café, Fiordland Outdoors Co, Real Journeys, Cruise Milford, Fiordland Jet, Southern Lakes Helicopters, Habit Foods – Bao Now, Southern Discoveries, Fiordland Cinema, Trips and Tramps, Fiordland Helicopters, Redcliff Café, Faith in Fiordland, Go Orange, The Cinema Suites, Cruise Te Anau and Wings and Water- Fiordland Seaplane.

Terms and conditions will apply and may vary between operators. Free trips will be subject to availability and not in conjunction with other offers. Free offers will vary between providers and will depend on the number of visitors locals bring through the doors.

 

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Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

While tourism businesses scramble to adapt to the domestic market in the wake of Covid-19, Fiordland’s regional tourism organisation could argue its one step ahead of them all.

Destination Fiordland has always been justifiably proud of its operators and attractions in the lakeside townships of Te Anau and Manapouri, and the raw majesty of Fiordland National Park’s glacier-carved fiords and rugged mountains.

But with many visitors starting and finishing their Fiordland adventures in Queenstown, making a quick pit-stop in Te Anau, the tourism organisation embarked on a brand refresh in October last year.

The goal? To shout loud and clear from those mountaintops that Fiordland exemplifies all that’s good about New Zealand and is a destination in its own right, where locals value their visitors and ‘walk the talk’ about maintaining the world-class natural environment for generations to come.

The new brand ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ was revealed to operators this week, setting out to target domestic travelers from day one and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s so much more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.

“The launch of our new brand comes at a challenging time, where fortune favours the bold,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock. “Our challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all this majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland a unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand, a place worth visiting.

“Fiordland is a must-see for international visitors but even last year we could see the untapped potential of domestic visitors. We clearly have a job to do at home, and this is a great start.”

Ms Peacock says ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ conveys the scale, grandeur and mind-blowing nature of the area, and applies to everything on offer from the people who call Fiordland ‘home’  to the quality of experiences, accommodation and food, and a deep sense of connection with the environment .

“Our research has identified Kiwis desire to connect with nature, looking for real world experiences in their backyard, connecting with natural environments and ensuring those environments will be protected for generations to come – it’s about who we are as Kiwis.

“Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, the Great Walks and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri have to an extent been hiding in the shadow of Milford Sound, however these areas are equally as impressive.”

Kerri James, owner operator of award-winning five-star accommodation provider Radfords On The Lake, says she’s “absolutely delighted” with the new brand.

“People down this way epitomise Southern hospitality, and ‘beyond belief’ is the perfect fit to describe Fiordland and everything we have to offer,” she says.

Fiordland Outdoors owner operator Christine Wallace says the brand is in “perfect synergy” with the high-value experience that Fiordland offers.

“The brand communicates a premium location and offering that’s very much in sync with what we do here. It’s very timely when all regions around New Zealand are being considered by domestic travelers,” she says.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing, says Air New Zealand has a special connection with Fiordland through its work with DOC to bring back birdsong on the Great Walks, three of which are located in Fiordland.

“Fiordland Beyond Belief helps position Fiordland as a world-class destination, famous for its majestic scenery, and has inspired me to visit this unique and special part of New Zealand,” she says.

Operators are currently being encouraged to incorporate the ‘Beyond Belief’ brand and associated imagery into their marketing and a new website is expected to launch within the next two months.

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Adventure Tourism Operator, Experience Co., Inks Cross-Tasman Deal with IBIS Technology

In a signal of confidence in the post COVID-19 recovery of the tourism sector, Experience Co. Ltd (ASX:Exp) announced today it has selected Queenstown-based IBIS Technology as its tourism business systems software provider for the company’s skydiving operations in both New Zealand and Australia.

The new relationship marks IBIS Technology’s first major reservations, operations and e-commerce software customer overseas.

Experience Co. is New Zealand and Australia’s leading Skydive operator with three skydiving businesses in NZ’s Southern Lakes region, including the world renowned NZONE Skydive, Skydive Southern Alps and Skydive Wanaka.

The company also offers tandem skydiving in 13 locations in Australia and several marine based operations in Far North Queensland.

John O’Sullivan, CEO of publicly-traded Experience Co seeks to ensure the company emerges from COVID-19 stronger than ever.

“Now is the time to reconsider how we are operating our businesses to both streamline operations and improve the holistic experience of the customer with our brands,” he said.

“After a thorough review of tourism business operations systems available in our markets, we chose IBIS because of its integrated ‘whole business’ functionality and 22 years of committed customer support. The IBIS team has deep knowledge of the skydiving and tourism industry and they’re very passionate about that. I look forward to working together as partners with IBIS to help us rebuild New Zealand and Australian adventure tourism in a way that strengthens both our business and the customer experience.”

Founder and CTO of IBIS Erik Bradshaw commented, “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the brilliant team at Experience Co., both here in NZ and as one of Australia’s largest tourism businesses.”

Bradshaw continued, “IT systems are a mission-critical part of our customers’ success. Recognising this, IBIS has taken a financially conservative approach to managing our own business so that we can be a solid partner to Experience Co. and other customers in these challenging times.

Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, our goal is to provide tourism and leisure operators the flexibility and tools to respond nimbly to changes in market conditions, from unexpected downturns to re-thinking pricing, scheduling, product offerings and partners.”

Experience Co. will implement IBIS systems this winter, giving staff time to ‘settle in’ before the tourism visitor numbers begin to climb to their new normal.

IBIS Technology has been designing tourism business management solutions for the New Zealand tourism industry since 1998.

Fully NZ-owned and operated, the company has grown from its early start in reservations software to offering an integrated platform for online and direct reservations, admissions, point-of-sale, e-commerce, accounts management and reporting for tourism and leisure businesses large and small.

As the leading tourism business management software company in New Zealand, IBIS focuses on partnering with its clients to ensure that its software and services add value, improving both business and customer experience results.

Experience Co. is an adventure tourism company founded in 1999 in Wollongong, New South Wales, with the vision of now becoming the largest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.

In Australia, Experience Co. owns and operates Skydive Australia along with several marine and tour businesses operating in Far North Queensland, while in New Zealand they run NZONE Skydive, Skydive Wanaka and Skydive Southern Alps.

 

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