Heli Tours Queenstown gaining its mark on sustainable tourism practice

Media Release from Heli Tours Queenstown

Queenstown commercial scenic flight provider Heli Tours Queenstown is celebrating after being recognized as one of the highest-quality, safe and sustainable tourism businesses in the country.

Heli Tours Queenstown is the only private and locally-owned helicopter company flying from the resort town, owned and operated by proud South Islanders Paul and Katherine Mitchell.

This month the company has been thrilled to receive a Qualmark Silver award on its first application for a Qualmark accreditation, following a process Paul Mitchell said had been “extremely beneficial” in putting the business under the magnifying glass.

Businesses are assessed on four key sectors — health and safety, sustainable and environmentally friendly practice, social hospitality and the economic operations of the company.

Following the intense evaluation, businesses can be awarded bronze, silver or gold.

Heli Tours Queenstown has been operating in Queenstown for seven years, and Mr Mitchell said they were delighted with the Silver award.

Qualmark Silver enables us to benchmark our business against other tourism operators throughout the country and continually strive to be the best,” he said.

“When visitors see that Qualmark branding they know that operation is safe, delivers a fantastic customer experience and customer service, and is reliable. They know they’re in good hands.”

“The whole accreditation process makes you look at your business from the outside in, and now we have the assessors report we know we can fine tune it with some very small improvements that can make all the difference.”

Mr Mitchell said he believed a Qualmark accreditation helped secure a long-term sustainable position for the tourism industry by protecting what made New Zealand unique and desired.

The couple say they love to showcase and inspire visitors with their extensive knowledge of, and passion for, their beautiful ‘backyard’.

Currently operating three helicopters, Heli Tours Queenstown has the widest range of landing concessions available to any Queenstown-based helicopter businesses, after being granted an historic 18-year permit multi-conservancy concession for heli landings just two years after setting up in business.

It was the first of its kind permitted by the Department of Conservation and enables the company to make the most of a range of options for helicopter landings throughout Otago, Southland and Canterbury for recreation or tourism activities.

It’s scenic flights and activities on offer include alpine snow and glacier landings, Milford and Dusky Sound trips, wine tours, high and low-adrenaline adventures, relaxing scenic spa and picnic activities, and personalised custom tours.

“More and more of our guests, no matter what country they’re from or their background, want the ‘new luxury’ of an authentic, genuine experience, really engaging with locals and learning about the area,” said Katherine Mitchell.

“That can be anything from seeing the family farm, escaping the crowds, to meeting a winemaker or going for a hike.

“They don’t have to be big trips, but we know we’ve done our job when they leave feeling like they’ve made a friend.”

Heli Tours Queenstown operates from its base at Queenstown International Airport.

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Lucky charity named – votes are in for Ziptrek’s Locals Day recipient

Media Release from Ziptrek Ecotours

Queenstown’s vibrant community has spoken – rallying together to vote for the voluntary organisation which will receive thousands of dollars from an annual fundraising day.

Multi-award-winning tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours put the ‘power to the people’ in a Queenstown ‘first’ to decide which deserving organisation should receive the proceeds from its Locals Day fundraiser.

Three organisations — Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue, the local high school’s Branches Charitable Trust and the Queenstown Fire Brigade – went head-to-head in the online poll.

With 56% of the votes, the winning cause is the iconic Wakatipu High School’s Year 10 Branches Camp.

Queenstowners will ‘take to the trees’ on Sunday October 29 for heavily discounted trips on the Kea 6-line or Moa 4-line tours, with 50% of proceeds going to Branches.

Ziptrek Ecotours director Trent Yeo said he was “delighted” with the community response.

“With the rise in social media use by locals and visitors, this was the perfect opportunity to take our iconic Locals Day to a whole new level,” he said.

“Ziptrek has been holding locals’ days to ‘give back’ to our community since we launched nearly eight years ago.

“All three of the organisations do a superb job for our community, but we had to go with one and it’s fantastic to see Branches Charitable Trust named as the worthy recipients, voted on by the general public.

“Now we’d love to see their supporters out in force on locals’ day, ‘zipping through the trees’ for hopefully a record-breaking day in aid of such a good cause.”

Branches Camp is a 12-day Wakatipu High School Year 10 outdoor camp held in remote Skippers Canyon. It’s regarded as a ‘rite of passage’ by all past and present students, and the Trust was formed in 2009 by locals concerned with escalating costs of running the camp.

Branches Charitable Trust Secretary Belinda Crichton said they were “over-the-moon” to have won the “people’s choice” vote.

“We’re delighted to receive the recognition for the work we do to keep the Branches Camp affordable for the high school community,” she said.

“We encourage everyone that’s voted to join us for a fun zipline adventure on October 29.

“With a combination of nature and adrenaline, the Locals Day will be the perfect warm-up for Branches Camp!”

Ziptrek has raised a total of $150K to date supporting local groups including Lakes Family Centre, Youth Booth, Wakatipu Search & Rescue, Kiwi Birdlife Park, St Johns Ambulance, Queenstown Scouts and Wakatipu Reforestation Trust.

Leading the way in zipline innovation and sustainable business practice, Ziptrek Ecotours launched in New Zealand in November 2009 and since then has completed nearly three-quarters of a million zips through the forest canopy on Queenstown Hill on ‘gravity fed ziplines’.

Picture caption:

1/ Queenstown locals will ‘take to the trees’ to raise money for the local high school’s Branches Charitable Trust

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Community invited to vote on Ziptrek locals day recipient in Queenstown

Media release from Ziptrek Ecotours

Queenstown tourism company Ziptrek Ecotours is taking its Locals Day to a whole new level.

The multi-award-winning company is giving its local community the chance to vote on which one of three local voluntary organisations should receive thousands of dollars from their annual fundraising day.

The company has chosen what Ziptrek Ecotours director Trent Yeo calls “three amazing organisations” as the lucky short-listed participants for the funds.

Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue, the local high school’s Branches Charitable Trust and the Queenstown Fire Brigade are all volunteer organisations working tirelessly in the district.

They each feature on Ziptrek’s website with an explanatory paragraph on who they are and what they do, and a short video in which the representatives talk about why they should be chosen.

Branches Camp is a 12-day Wakatipu High School Year 10 outdoor camp held in remote Skippers Canyon. It’s regarded as a ‘rite of passage’ by all past and present students, and the Trust was formed in 2009 by locals concerned with escalating costs of running the camp.

Trust chair Louise Ward said as the costs of providing health and safety plans and guides increased each year, the goal of the Trust was to keep costs to students and families to a minimum “so every child in the Wakatipu can afford to go”.

The Wakatipu Alpine Cliff Rescue team is a small, high-profile group of professionally-trained and enthusiastic alpine rescue personnel who operate beyond the scope of normal ambulance, fire LandSAR search teams or police rescue services.

“We help people who can’t help themselves, anywhere that’s steep and difficult where you need technical equipment and competency,” said representative Chris Prudden. “We need a lot of support because ongoing equipment and training costs chew up the money.”

Last but not least, the 100% volunteer Queenstown Fire Brigade features about 50 members from all around the world, operating since 1863 and responding to over 300 calls a year.

Fireman Jesse Johnston said the brigade was “eternally grateful” to members employers who supported their roles. It’s also very appreciative of donations from the community, which is used to provide specialist training for brigade members and fund the purchase of key equipment required by the brigade.

Locals are being encouraged to go to the website to check the links and vote for the organisation they believe is most deserving of the locals’ day proceeds.

Ziptrek have supported seven local groups since opening in 2009, including Lakes Family Centre, Youth Booth, Wakatipu Search & Rescue, Kiwi Birdlife Park, St Johns Ambulance, Queenstown Scouts and Wakatipu Reforestation Trust, raising over a whopping $150K in total.

Voting closes on Saturday September 30 and the locals day will be held on Sunday October 29 2017.

On Locals Day, the local community is given the chance to experience the thrill-seeking fun of Ziptrek for a heavily discounted price. A significant proportion of the proceeds will go to the chosen charity.

Trent Yeo said the company was “dedicated and passionate” about helping another worthwhile local community cause as it “forms part of what Ziptrek stands for.

Leading the way in zipline innovation and sustainable business practice, Ziptrek Ecotours launched in New Zealand in November 2009 and since then has completed nearly three-quarters of a million zips through the forest canopy on Queenstown Hill on ‘gravity fed ziplines’.

For more information on each of the deserving organisations and to vote click HERE.

Picture caption:

1/ A Ziptrek Ecotours guest enjoying the view of Queenstown while ‘zipping’ through the trees

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High school students invited to ‘dream big’ with tourism scholarship

Media Release from AccorHotels Queenstown

Two Queenstown businesses have joined forces with their local high school to offer a student a scholarship to kickstart their global tourism career.

AccorHotels four Queenstown hotels have partnered with the award-winning Queenstown Resort College to award one lucky Wakatipu High School (WHS) student with a scholarship covering fifty percent of tuition fees for a Diploma in Hospitality Management.

The WHS Scholarship provides recognition and reward to a student demonstrating a high level of academic achievement and extra-curricular involvement. The scholarship includes a guaranteed internship placement at one of AccorHotels’ market-leading Queenstown properties.

Students can apply for the grant by submitting responses to several questions, including an inventive 100-word response to “the secret of their success if they ran a world-renowned Queenstown hotel in 2028”.

The scholarship is a collective vision to open up the world of hotel business to Queenstown students, exposing them to a compelling career path in tourism with the option to travel worldwide.

AccorHotels Regional Director of Talent and Culture Erin Dalton praised the leadership of the Queenstown hotels.

“It’s fantastic to see the four hotels nurturing their talent pipeline when faced with housing and immigration challenges,” she said.

“The scholarship demonstrates the value we place on engaging with our local community as a company.”

The opportunity will take students who are already ‘innately hospitable’ living in Queenstown and are a natural fit for the resort’s hotels.

The scheme is designed to engage Queenstown’s local community in the myriad of opportunities that exist for emerging young business leaders within the hospitality and tourism industries.

Wakatipu High School Principal Steve Hall described the scholarship as an amazing opportunity to study on “home turf”.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to begin a successful career in Queenstown and New Zealand,” he said.

“Financially, the WHS Scholarship will be invaluable to a local family. We have so many great hardworking students, and it’s such a fantastic opportunity to be awarded financial aid for further education.

“It’s important to recognise careers in adventure tourism or hospitality and hotel management as some of the best in New Zealand.

“The professional standards to which QRC prepares graduates with business training, along with practical experience, is highly sought-after by prospective employers.”

Queenstown Resort College Chief Executive Charlie Phillips said gaining a recognised qualification in the tourism and hospitality sector presented “unlimited opportunities”.

“It’s fantastic to see AccorHotels acknowledge the quality of QRC as the hotels have successfully employed many of our top graduates throughout the years,” he said.

“The hotel group acknowledges QRC as a quality provider with excellent outcomes and it makes sense for our local high school to consider us as their local tertiary provider.

“The scholarship is a great opportunity for students to work within New Zealand’s largest export industry. It’s fantastic to see all parties promoting the virtues of tourism as a career of choice.”

Applications must be submitted by September 30 2017 and shortlisted applicants will undergo a formal interview with senior AccorHotels’ management.

The successful applicant will be announced at the WHS Senior prize giving at Wakatipu High School on November 2 2017.

Picture caption:

1/ AccorHotels invites Wakatipu High School students to ‘dream big’ with tourism scholarship for a Diploma in Hospitality Management at Queenstown Resort College

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