VisitorPoint secures AA Travel & Tourism contract

A New Zealand brochure distribution company has secured a national contract with the largest visitor guide publisher in the tourism industry.

Effective from today (Monday August 13), AA Travel & Tourism will outsource the warehousing, distribution and merchandising of its market-leading AA Traveller brochures, guides and directories to VisitorPoint.

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

AA Traveller’s 25 publications cover accommodation, activities and maps, and special interest areas including cycle trails, food and wine and golf.

The publications, targeted at domestic and international travellers, will be distributed to designated AA distribution stands and locations through VisitorPoint’s comprehensive national network of 37 merchandised distribution circuits.

New brochures, guides and directories published by AA Travel & Tourism will also be in VisitorPoint’s remit.

The contract is a result of AA Travel & Tourism’s review of storage, distribution and merchandising for its print products, and will secure significant cost savings and productivity improvements for their business.

Delighted to add AA’s full contract warehouse services to the company portfolio, Kelly Harland of VisitorPoint says it’s an exciting time for the team.

“The agreement is an extension of our long-standing relationship with AA Travel & Tourism, and we’re excited to see it flourish,” she says.

“To date, we’ve been managing exclusive displays in the Queenstown and Auckland markets, but nothing on this scale.

“The collaboration not only strengthens the offering to our network of outlets, but it enables us to offer the most comprehensive library of collateral to the travel and tourism industry all in one place.”

With the announcement, comes the employment of a new staff member.

Having worked with AA Travel & Tourism for over ten years as distribution manager, Eileen Philpot brings her expertise and knowledge to VisitorPoint as national distribution assistant, providing continuity of service and support to outlets stocking AA guides.

AA Travel & Tourism General Manager Greig Leighton has congratulated VisitorPoint for its robust processes and expertise in packing and delivery of product.

Outlets will now order direct from VisitorPoint’s trade website (www.visitorpointonline.com) from Monday August 13.

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Millbrook Resort starts work on $50million development

Four years of planning, appeals, hearings and zone changes have finally come to fruition for Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort.

The multi-award-winning resort has been granted resource consent for a $50m development that will see it develop a neighbouring farm into a new golf course interspersed with 42 sections for high-end residential homes.

The development will add nine new golf holes to Millbrook’s current world-class 27-hole offering, enabling the resort to operate two full 18-hole courses.

Initial site clearance is underway and, under a separate consent, work has almost been completed on shifting the Arrow Irrigation Pipe to a new location to make way for the development.

Groundworks include a raft of ecological and landscape enhancements, the first land titles should go live in late 2020, and once the new golf course is constructed and ‘grown-in’ it should be playable by 2021.

Millbrook Director of Property and Development Ben O’Malley says the net was cast “far and wide” for project tendering, with the main earthworks contract going to Grant Hood Contracting from Ashburton.

Highly-experienced turf specialist company TIC Golf Projects Ltd has been awarded the main golf course construction project, the same company that developed the resort’s Coronet Nine course, along with a golf course irrigation installation contract.

Millbrook is still working through detailed design on works such as roading, reticulated services and the resort’s distinctive schist stone walls.

In the initial earthworks phase, half a million cubic metres of material will be moved within the site. A ‘zero cut to fill’ balance means all work will be carried out with material contained within the farm area, with topsoil stripped and stored before being re-spread once earthworks are complete.

Mr O’Malley says Millbrook has been working alongside the Friends of Lake Hayes and the Otago Regional Council to support their initiative to discharge off-peak water from the Arrow River irrigation race to Mill Stream (which runs through Millbrook into Lake Hayes).

“They believe this will help enhance the water quality of Lake Hayes and we have the means to provide them the link between the Arrow Irrigation Company pipe and Mill Stream,” he says.

The ORC is part-way through a plan change process that will see a minimum flow placed on the Arrow River, from which Millbrook currently sources its golf irrigation water via the AIC.

The minimum flow process would pose a risk to Millbrook’s golf operations, as it’s sand-based tees and greens, installed to meet international PGA specifications, require daily watering.

“To guard against this risk we’re also constructing a 30million-litre water storage lake on the farm land,” says Mr O’Malley.

The new 36-hole format at Millbrook s been described as a ‘game changer’ for the resort, effectively adding 100% golf capacity with two fully operational 18-hole courses that can be operated simultaneously.

It’s being welcomed by the growing number of Millbrook Country Club members who will be able to play an ever-changing private members’ course on a daily basis, as well as another for tourists and locals.

It’s also good news for the long-term future of the New Zealand Open, currently hosted at Millbrook in conjunction with The Hills golf course.

The Open has always planned to move to a three-course model, similar to international Dunhill Links and AT&T events, and having two courses available at Millbrook would enable this goal to be achieved.

Ben O’Malley says the resort is “ecstatic” to be getting underway with the development.

“It’s been over four years since we first bought the former Dalgleish Farm land with the dream of adding to the resort,” he says.

“There’s been a lot of hard work from our consultants and planning team to get to this point, but now it’s all coming to fruition it’s simply fantastic.”

The land has provided a fantastic opportunity for the golf course team, as well as lending itself to the development of two discretely and geographically-separated residential neighbourhoods.

The large upper plateau contains 24 sites boasting elevated panoramic views over fairways and pastoral lands to the wider basin. The lower slopes are home to a further 18 sites with north-facing outlooks over an enhanced Mill Stream and the last of the stunning new golf holes. Most of the sites are expected to sell for over $1million each.

Parts of Mill Stream will be widened to create larger waterways and enhanced wetlands. The new development will retain a rural, agrarian style with over 20 hectares of working farmland retained for grazing and retention of a historic woolshed.

The original 1860’s farmhouse will also stay on the land, with some sympathetic additions.

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New Zealand’s first smart hotel opens in Queenstown

mi-pad Queenstown, New Zealand’s first fully ‘smart’ hotel has opened its doors in the heart of Queenstown.

 

MIPAD Holdings Ltd has opened mi-pad Queenstown, a next generation, energy-conscious hotel experience for the smart traveller and the ultimate marriage of technology, sustainability, comfort and convenience.

 

The six-storey hotel features 57 stylish and well-appointed rooms with the latest in-room tech, multiple ‘social spaces’ and an impressive rooftop terrace.

And the key to mi-pad Queenstown is that there is no key.

 

Guests booking their stay download the hotel’s personal app ‘mia’ and their smartphone becomes a room key, meaning physical check-ins (or check outs) are a thing of the past.

 

Mia also has a range of other tricks up her sleeve, with the app enabling guests to set temperatures and mood lighting in their room (even remotely), request room service or alert hotel staff that they don’t want to be disturbed.  

 

Access to the hotel is available 24/7 thanks to the technology. Once guests are settled in, mia transforms into a personal digital concierge, delivering the latest information on events, activities or offers and encouraging them to experience the best of this stunning destination.

 

The $15m John Blair-designed hotel is in the heart of Queenstown, less than a two-minute walk from the vibrant centre with its hundreds of bars, restaurants and activity operators set on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu.

 

The mi-pad hotel concept is the brainchild of Queenstown property developer Lewis Gdanitz and is the fruition of three years of hard work.

 

“mi-pad is the result of 15 years of research, travelling the world and finding the places that did accommodation really well,” he says.

 

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to deliver a property that’s unlike anything else on offer in New Zealand, operating on a premise of affordable luxury delivered using the latest technology.

 

“I’m also very proud of the eco-conscious initiatives we have in place for every aspect of the operation.”

 

MIPAD Holdings Ltd is a joint venture between Lewis and experienced hotel investment and development company TJK NZ Ltd, owner of luxury boutique hotels The George in Christchurch and Regent of Rotorua.

 

TJK NZ CEO Stephen Borcoskie said the company had a proud pedigree of leadership in, and commitment to, the New Zealand hotel industry.

 

“Our goal is to always exceed customer expectations by excelling in service delivery, and we’re thrilled to be entering the Queenstown market which consistently leads the way in delivering world-class experiences and lifelong memories to visitors from around the globe.

 

“It makes perfect sense to open a unique property like this in Queenstown.”

 

Hotel manager Kylie Hogan has 20 years’ experience in international resort management.

“We’re offering an innovative, connected hotel experience for smart travellers who’d prefer to spend their hard-earned dollars on experiences rather than pay over the odds for accommodation,” she says.

“We appreciate that they want to keep in touch with family, friends, or colleagues whether they’re here to ski their hearts out, check out bike trails, enjoy some world-class golf or award-winning wines.

“mia’s the key to all of that, the complete package for guests who want to have fun like a local.”

The hotel hasn’t forgotten the basics of ensuring guests get a great night’s sleep, with Queen beds, clever storage options, smart TV’s and bathrooms featuring organic products and top-of-the-line hair styling tools.

Guests can have as much or as little interaction with mi-pad staff and other guests as they like, including the option to share experiences, photos or messages through mia’s private chat group.

A floor-to-ceiling ‘social wall’ in the hotel’s entrance lobby also features mia’s latest updates and guests shared experiences.

Although there are snacks and breakfast options available within the hotel, mi-pad’s owners made a conscious decision to keep F&B services to a minimum to encourage guests to savour the town’s renowned eateries.

But if they prefer to order-in or BYO, the hotel’s best kept secret is its huge rooftop terrace with an outdoor fireplace, plentiful seating and wraparound 270-degree views of Lake Wakatipu and surrounding mountains.

The terrace is exclusively available to guests and is the perfect spot to enjoy an outdoor dining experience or luscious wine with some of the best views in town.

To unlock the key to the full mi-pad experience, book online at www.mipadhotels.com

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Kiwi rippers take on international stars in New Zealand’s most iconic snowboard race

US snowboarding Olympian Chris Corning is lining up to take on an amped field of kiwi snowboarders in the Treble Cone Banked Slalom 2018.

The iconic event has a strong history and its open entry status always attracts outstanding local talent, riders from around New Zealand and visiting international professionals.

This year is no exception with Corning upping the ante for this weekend’s event.

Chris has made a name for himself in both slopestyle and big air with two World Championships and World Cup titles under his belt. Earlier this year he finished fourth in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Big Air competition.

Previous events have seen entries from stars such as Freeride World Tour boarder Amber Schuecker, pro Norwegian Terje Haakonsen, and former Olympian Scotty Lago.

Even kiwi freestyle skier Jossi Wells has strapped on his snowboard to take on the course.

New Zealand’s ski areas attract international pro riders during the Northern Hemisphere’s off-season, and the festival atmosphere of the Treble Cone Banked Slalom is a big attraction for visiting athletes.

As a result, it’s an event at which local riders can find themselves facing down big-name pros, although the results aren’t as predictable as some might think. The technical nature of the course means that there’s plenty of opportunities for unforced errors and some surprising winners!

Local snowboarding royalty Deni Bevin, 42, is looking to reclaim his Master’s title and is excited to be competing against top athletes from the world circuit.

“I love giving the young guys a good run for their money,” he says. “Banked slalom is competitive by nature, but it really brings the whole snowboarding community together.

“It’s a great opportunity to compete against some of the best in the game. Winning the event a few years ago was a serious springboard and sent me to Mt Baker in the US to compete in one of the largest banked slalom competitions in the world”.

The Treble Cone Banked Slalom is part of the World Snowboarding Federation Banked Slalom World Tour, a global series that spans 14 countries.

The TC event sees racers pit themselves against the clock on a course that sees them riding high on the sides of a snow-filled gulley, aligning the classic snowboard feeling of ‘surfing the mountain’ with alpine racing.

This year’s event will see racers compete for glory in TC’s legendary Saddle Basin, which is renowned for its twisting fall line, natural airs and slashable banks.

There’s cash on offer for the winners in Open and Masters male and female categories and other prizes including Never Summer snowboards and the chance to compete in the legendary Mt Baker Banked Slalom.

The Treble Cone Banked Slalom takes place on August 11th at Treble Cone ski resort, Wanaka. Racing starts at 11am and spectators are encouraged to check out the action.

To enter visit www.treblecone.com or email [email protected]

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