Rotorua Canopy Tours - a business which in just four years has got visitors raving and nature flourishing - has won the supreme award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards.

The Rotorua tourism attraction, which zip-lines people through pristine native bush on the outskirts of Mamaku, took home three gongs at last night's awards held at The Langham in Auckland.

Apart from the supreme award, the business also won the Environmental Tourism Award and Visitor Experience Award, beating off stiff competition in the tourism industry's annual national awards.

In a successful night for Rotorua, Rotorua Lakes Council's tourism arm, Destination Rotorua, took home the Industry Alignment Award.


The awards are owned and organised by Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) with the awards night put on with the help of partners Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. More than 300 industry leaders and supporters attended the black-tie dinner.

Mixing thrills and conservation, Rotorua Canopy Tours offers visitors a phenomenal nature experience - a three-hour small group journey into an ancient native forest, using walking rails, treetop platforms, swinging bridges and ziplines.

The judges said the thriving business, a 15-minute drive from downtown Rotorua, was an excellent combination of people, culture, environment and a fantastic activity for all ages to enjoy.

"Rotorua Canopy Tours has demonstrated incredible progress. Visitor numbers have been growing rapidly year on year, the business has reinvested in a new headquarters at the entrance to Rotorua and outstanding environmental outcomes have been achieved as a result of passion, innovation and perseverance," the judges said.

The judges said Destination Rotorua had done a great job with its Famously Rotorua marketing campaign.Photo/File
The judges said Destination Rotorua had done a great job with its Famously Rotorua marketing campaign.Photo/File

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said Rotorua Canopy Tours was a complete product that ticked all the boxes.

"At the heart of its success is an exceptional visitor experience that has raised the bar of personalisation, authenticity and fun, attracting a premium price tag."

15 Oct, 2016 10:26pm
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The judges said the company had done a great job with its Famously Rotorua marketing campaign.

"Four years ago Rotorua was languishing as one of the worst performing visitor regions."

"This spurred Destination Rotorua and over 150 local operators to join together to fund
Famously Rotorua, a high-profile domestic marketing campaign, originally targeting the Auckland market and more recently Auckland's Chinese community."

The judges said the campaign was maximising results for local tourism operators and ramping up the economic benefits to the local community.

"It has changed perceptions of Rotorua, reinvigorated the destination as a place for New Zealanders to visit more often, stay longer and spend more."

Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park co-owner Jared Adams was also a finalist for the Emerging Tourism Leader Award.

New Zealand Tourism Awards winners 2016

Supreme Tourism Industry Award: Rotorua Canopy Tours

Environmental Tourism Award: Rotorua Canopy Tours

Visitor Experience Award: Rotorua Canopy Tours

Industry Alignment Award: Destination Rotorua

Sir Jack Newman Award (outstanding industry leader):
George Hickton, Wellington

Emerging Tourism Leader Award: Bradley Garnett, Skycity
Entertainment Group, Auckland

Tourism Industry Champion Award: Graeme Abbot, Hanmer
Springs Thermal Pools & Spa

Business Excellence Award - annual turnover less than $6
million: Black Cat Cruises, Canterbury

Business Excellence Award - annual turnover more than
$6 million: Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours, Waikato

Maori Cultural Tourism Award: Waitangi Treaty Grounds

People's Choice Award: Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours,

Tourism 2025 Enabler Award: Angus & Associates Ltd

Tourism Marketing Campaign Award: Hobbiton Movie Set &
Farm Tours