Pioneering Ziptrek Ecotours founder finalist in top New Zealand tourism awards  

Pioneering Ziptrek Ecotours founder finalist in top New Zealand tourism awards  

From architecture to guiding, outdoor education to tourism, with a degree of self-deprecation Trent Yeo says he “wandered with purpose” into the tourism industry.

Ten years down the track, what he’s achieved in setting up pioneering zipline company Ziptrek Ecotours, in tandem with multiple roles in industry organisations, events and working groups, on boards, as a speaker, facilitator, participant or host, is now being recognised.

This week he has been named a finalist in the prestigious New Zealand Tourism Awards in the Emerging Tourism Leader category, recognising his work as an outstanding tourism professional.

The Queenstown-based multi-award-winning Zipline Ecotours is celebrating ten years in business this year, as the pioneers of ziplining in New Zealand and a recognised leader in business innovation, eco-tourism and sustainable business practice.

At its heart, it’s an eco-tourism company, aiming to educate and inspire others towards long-term environmental and sustainable practices. And Trent could not be more proud of what the company has achieved.

“Ziptrek Ecotours is now woven into the Queenstown’s deep tourism heritage,” he says. “Tens of thousands of people every year now hear a story of humanity’s link to our natural world.

“I am passionate about travel as a multiculturally influenced Chinese-Malaysian-Australian proudly in Aotearoa. The effect of empathy of places and people through travel is profound, and tourism has to be of ‘net good’ for the individual, community and planet.”

Trent says the value he brings to the wider tourism industry is as a generalist, a collaborator and with connections outside tourism.

“I’m optimistic and macro-focussed, simultaneously patient and impatient about delivering with more impact. I’m in tourism because it counts, because tourism is an investment in people.

“This may seem grand, but the emotional component of tourism is the most powerful aspect of tourism; the experience economy. We must transform thinking around humanity’s role in sustainability.”

Much of Trent’s value to the industry is through tourism and across other sectors, such as technology, startups and future focussed projects.

Forty percent of his time is spent on unpaid work, direct and indirect tourism and ‘extracurricular’ work on a national or local level, as a business leader and citizen.

“I’m very proud to be a finalist in the awards and to be a part of this amazing industry of people in Aotearoa,” says Trent. “There are some outstanding finalists in all categories and I’m looking forward to the awards night in October.”

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VisitorPoint celebrates new tourism industry partnership

VisitorPoint celebrates new tourism industry partnership

A new tourism business partnership between New Zealand’s top brochure distribution company and Australia’s leading online booking platform is being hailed as a ‘win win’ for the travel trade.

VisitorPoint, New Zealand’s only national distributor of tourism information, has joined forces with global travel-tech group, Adventium Technology.

VisitorPoint BDM Stacey Scott says the new partnership, which aligns specifically with Adventium’s TravelDesk product, has amazing synergies and benefits for both businesses.

VisitorPoint currently distributes over 3,500 brochure titles from New Zealand tourism operators throughout the country. The new arrangement will mean all current and future users of the Adventism TravelDesk booking platform throughout Australia and New Zealand will have a seamless platform on which to order stock through VisitorPointOnline.

“Rather than requiring independent log ins, users will be able to click a button while within TravelDesk and choose the stock they’d like to order,” says Stacey.

“They’ll be dispatched within 24 hours from one of our three warehouses in New Zealand, meaning accessing stock has never been easier. As new outlets come on board, they’ll be automatically given log ins so there’s no delay in accessing the titles we manage.

“It’s fantastic news for TravelDesk outlets, but also for our operators as it means more than 600 outlets in Australasia now have access to their print collateral at the click of a mouse, and consumption is measurable through our client reporting system.”

Ms Scott says TravelDesk has a range of benefits for VisitorPoint outlets as it is a simple booking system, enabling them to generate revenue by booking national and international travel products from their brochure displays.

Adventium Technology’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Selina Kelly, says “We are dedicated to providing the content and functionality our travel agents need into the TravelDesk system to give them greater efficiency and make their lives easier. Both TravelDesk and VisitorPoint are focused on supporting agent and operator growth throughout the region, making this a great partnership for us and our clients.”

About VisitorPoint

VisitorPoint is New Zealand’s only national distributor of tourism information, having distributed brochures throughout New Zealand for more than 30 years.

It operates three warehouses in Christchurch, Auckland and Queenstown equipped with full teams of warehouse staff working in tandem with 19 merchandisers, as well as sales and marketing and senior management teams.

It is a company that likes to innovate — last year it introduced live online reporting for its clients, and it supports print companies which share its sustainable print visions.  It has over 2000 physical display outlets throughout New Zealand and operates 38 distribution circuits.

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Vollie wins amateur playing spot in NZ Open

Vollie wins amateur playing spot in NZ Open

Sometime golfer Rachel Edmond has been a regular volunteer at the NZ Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills since out-of-town friends convinced her it would be fun, and they could stay at her house.

For the past five years she’s been a ‘walker scorer’ among the team of 400-plus volunteers who are the engine room of the prestigious event.

But at the volunteer thank-you BBQ this year that all changed – when her name was drawn out of the hat to win a coveted amateur playing spot for next year’s championship.

“You never imagine your name will be called out and that the dubious pleasure of playing in the Open will be bestowed upon someone much more deserving,” she says.

Southlander Rachel, 51, a golfer for about 15 years, is a member of the Royal Wellington Golf Club and used to play off a handy 8 handicap. A two-year golfing hiatus however, resulting in a hip replacement in December, has her admitting she’s a long way off playing to that figure.

“I decided I’d need to implement a schedule of regular practice and play starting before the end of September. That gives me about five months to have a chance at achieving respectability.”

She loves living in Queenstown and usually plays with friends at Millbrook, Arrowtown Golf Club and occasionally The Hills.

“Of course it’s a huge treat for any amateur golfer to have the opportunity to play in an event such as the NZ Open, but I sense the reality will be a little startling,” she says. “It’s not the Saturday stableford.”

This Thursday (Sept 19) the NZ Open is launching its SBS Bank Volunteer Programme at Millbrook Resort as it says ‘thank you’ to around 30 hardworking volunteers from Cromwell Golf Club with a free 18-hole shotgun-start competition.

Cromwell volunteers have been a mainstay of the event over the years, taking ownership of a number of holes and managing them under the keen eye of Cromwell golf stalwart John McDonald.

The SBS Bank ‘army’ of volunteers take on a wide range of integral behind-the-scenes roles throughout the Open and relish the opportunity to get behind the ropes.

While many are local or from regional golf clubs, overseas volunteers are also part of the mix, with some coming each year from as far away as Scotland, California and Australia.

Next year’s NZ Open will be held from February 27 to March 1.

Anyone keen to help out can register for the SBS Bank Volunteer Programme through the website

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Plans finalised for Major Community Precinct at Remarkables Park, Queenstown

Plans finalised for Major Community Precinct at Remarkables Park, Queenstown

A multi-generational community precinct has been announced today for Remarkables Park, Queenstown’s fast-growing commercial, visitor accommodation and residential district.

Remarkables Park Limited said detailed plans had been finalised for a centrally-located community precinct to include a medical clinic, retirement village, a major new Salvation Army centre, a community centre, adjacent recreation park, and a further kindergarten and student tuition building.

The community precinct is immediately south of Wakatipu High School and extends from Red Oaks Drive through to Mountain Ash Drive.

Remarkables Park Ltd executive chairman Alastair Porter said the geographically-central approximately 4.5 hectare precinct was within the urban boundaries of the Shotover and Kawarau bridges. Its close proximity to the bulk of the Queenstown population made it a “socially and economically desirable” location.

The multi-storey Queenstown Clinic is designed to house a wide range of facilities including a General Practice doctors, a pharmacy, café, physio and sports rehabilitation facilities, Skin Institute Queenstown, a dental surgery, ophthalmology centre, and patient visitor accommodation.

The Pacific Radiology MRI unit, currently housed in a nearby relocatable building, will be able to move into the ground floor of the Queenstown Clinic.

The top floor of the clinic has been designed to accommodate a private hospital facility. Following a decision by Southern Cross to build outside the urban boundaries, Remarkables Park Ltd (RPL) says it is in discussion with other parties for this facility.

Mr Porter said that, as a large scale developer with centrally-located land outside the airport’s noise boundaries, RPL believed it was also a “responsible approach” to hold land aside within the planned community precinct for future consideration for hospital expansion facilities to service Queenstown in the long term.

A large, vertical retirement village with space for up to five tower blocks, all with exceptional views, is planned as part of the community precinct. It will feature a pool, exercise facilities and other desirable retirement amenities.

The approved two-storey Salvation Army building will house a large shop, offices, meeting rooms and a congregation area downstairs, with more office and administration space upstairs. Building is expected to start in 2020.

The clinic is ready to go to the Queenstown Lakes District Council Design Review Board in October and the retirement village, kindergarten and tuition centre are all in design stages.

“It’s important to note that this precinct is designed as a cluster of co-located key community facilities in an area that is already fully-zoned for this purpose,” said Mr Porter.

“In the case of a major civil defence emergency it’s also in very close proximity to the airport, fire services, the existing hospital, the Events Centre, the High School and Remarkables Primary School, and close to where the conference centre is being built.”

A Queenstown Trails Trust bike and walking trail bordering the north side of the community precinct will connect the precinct to Remarkables Park’s Market Street, and to the Kawarau riverbank trails and further high-density residential to the north.

Mr Porter has been working on the Queenstown Clinic and community centre plans with Skin Institute Queenstown director Dr Hans Raetz.

“We’ve been working on this for a long time and I’m delighted that we are finally at the stage where it is ready to go,” said Dr Raetz.

“It’s the perfect location, extremely centrally located, and great to be clustering medical facilities alongside other major community hubs such as schools, a community centre and other care organisations, high-density residential and the Remarkables Park Town Centre.”

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