Evolution reaps Skyline top award

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Skyline's team at the export awards. (From left) Dean Johnson, Alison Kirkland, Bruce Thomasen and Andrew Jensen. Photo / Wayne Tait Photography
Skyline's team at the export awards. (From left) Dean Johnson, Alison Kirkland, Bruce Thomasen and Andrew Jensen. Photo / Wayne Tait Photography

Skyline Rotorua is delighted that tourism's contribution to exports was recognised in this year's ExportNZ BOP awards, says general manager Bruce Thomasen.

Skyline, which also won last year's Westpac Rotorua Business Awards, took out the top award at the recent Tauranga export event.

"From our perspective it's nice to get recognition for the tourist industry in the export arena, where we're competing in the awards against manufacturers," said Mr Thomasen. "The international tourism dollar is an export dollar - it's bringing foreign currency in."

The Exporter of the Year Award is given to BOP companies that have achieved extraordinary and sustainable export growth for more than five consecutive years. Skyline beat out finalists Automation & Electronics NZ and Ntec Tertiary Group for the top award.

The judges said Skyline had transformed its business, developing a multi-attraction and multi-activity venue providing visitors with a unique destination experience, while ensuring there was a clear understanding of all aspects of their business and what contributed best to revenue.

The transformation has included new Luge runs, wine tasting facilities, a revamped hospitality offering, new retail platforms, a mountain bike track and a dedicated star gazing observatory.

The winner had demonstrated sustained and outstanding performance and results in terms of export earnings, growth and profit; leadership and direction; excellence in marketing; export strategy and business planning; commitment to quality management and governance.

Judges also noted Skyline's Luge offering now included fully owned and operated international installations in Calgary and Tremblant in Canada, on Sentosa in Singapore, and would open soon in Tong Yeong in South Korea.

"Not content with rapidly increased international visitor numbers coming to them, they're now taking their iconic Luge rides direct to some of their biggest fans in Canada, Singapore and now in South Korea," the judges said.

Mr Thomasen said the judges' feedback acknowledged the transformation Skyline Rotorua had made.

"They recognised the impact Skyline has made in terms of our growth and the length of time visitors are staying and spending. It's a world class facility."

Mr Thomasen said the export award also recognised the company's success in creating an offshore tourist environment with the Luge. The South Korean operation was expected to open in December.

Skyline's head office is in Queenstown, where there is also a Luge, and the company has separate general managers for each operation. However, Skyline Rotorua manages the manufacture of the luge carts.

"We spread the component-making out around various Rotorua suppliers and assemble the karts ourselves, then they are shipped out to our offshore locations," said Mr Thomasen.

He added that judges' expectations at the various awards events were similar.

BOP Export winner:

* Skyline Rotorua's ExportNZ BOP Export Awards 2016 include:

* Winner: Sharp Tudhope Lawyers Exporter of the Year Award

* Finalist: Page Macrae Engineering Innovation in Export Award

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