Four Rotorua businesses have their fingers crossed after being announced as finalists for 100 per cent Pure New Zealand Experience Awards.
From more than 100 entries, Kaitiaki Adventures, Redwoods Treewalk, Rainbow Springs and Canopy Tours are four of Qualmark's 41 finalists. The winner will be announced at parliament on May 1 by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis.
Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button is thrilled.
"Awards can be quite nerve-racking because you put a lot of effort and energy into them.
"We want to go and win this thing because we want to keep Rotorua on the holiday map but we have been selected among some pretty cool businesses.
"And with a bit of luck all four of us win, that would be the ideal world."
Treewalk managing director Bruce Thomasen said it was fantastic to hear the news as the Redwoods was a special place that he was proud to share with locals and visitors.
"Our partnership with New Zealand design and sustainability champion David Trubridge is a key component to the uniqueness and the magic.
"Our team of service superstars are also an integral part of the manaakitanga that we are proud to deliver."
Kaitiaki's business development manager Jason Wright said it was humbling for Kaitiaki Adventures to once again be recognised among New Zealand's finest activities operators.
"It's an absolute credit to the talented and extremely hard working crew at Kaitiaki Adventures both past and present and the delivery of a truly unique New Zealand experience."
He said seeing three other Rotorua companies in line for the prize reinforced the quality of operators in the region.
Set in native forest and natural streams, bringing New Zealand's native and cultural stories to life, is Rainbow Springs which business manager David Hennigan confirmed was more than 85 years old.
"Being recognised as a finalist is a testament to the journey we have been on since 2015, when we began to reinvigorate the park to improve our manuhiri (visitor) experience, including a major redevelopment of our entrance building."
Qualmark general manager Gregg Anderson said the number of finalists was a credit to the high standard of experiences on offer by Qualmark Gold accredited operators.
"Qualmark is New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality and through the awards our members have highlighted the wide range of exceptional New Zealand experiences on offer.
"The finalists have demonstrated how tourism businesses can support not only a positive visitor experience but also a positive host community experience of tourism through the principles manaakitanga, tiaki and whānau."
Judges will be looking for entries that demonstrate excellence in visitor hosting and a commitment to tiaki (care for New Zealand) a tourism industry initiative to encourage travellers to care for people, place and culture while in New Zealand.