The brainchild of the entrepreneurial Ryan Sanders and a business that has achieved exceptional growth over the past 10 years, Haka Tourism Group has won the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.
The Awards Programme is owned and organised by Tourism Industry Aotearoa with the Awards night put on with the assistance of partners Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. The winners were announced at a black-tie dinner in Christchurch on September 7, and was attended by more than 350 industry leaders and supporters.
The Awards judges congratulated Ryan and his team for creating a tourism business that is excelling on every level. In just over 10 years, Haka Tourism Group has expanded to include small group, adventure, snow and mountain bike tours, upmarket hostels, a specialist educational brand and high end snow tours.
This year it is opening its first two hotels to support the tourism industry’s strong visitor growth. TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said Haka Tourism Group is an inspirational tourism success story that has strong links with the industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework. Driven by cutting edge digital marketing and brand positioning, the business is growing at an average of 80 percent year on year, with revenues for the next 12 months on track to exceed $17 million.
As part of their Supreme Award prize, Haka Tourism Group receives international air travel to any Air New Zealand destination valued at $10,000 (+GST) to help them grow their tourism business. Air New Zealand chief executive officer Christopher Luxon said the airline is delighted to support the New Zealand Tourism Awards’ Supreme Tourism Award for a third year.
“As our tourism industry continues to grow, it’s great to celebrate those who are building excellent and innovative tourism businesses and delivering outstanding experiences for our visitors to New Zealand and who are committed to contributing to our country’s reputation overseas.”
Haka Tourism Group also won the JLT & AIG Business Excellence Award – more than $6 million annual turnover, and the epay NZ Tourism Marketing Award. Founder and sole shareholder Ryan Sanders was recognised for his visionary and influential leadership, winning the Auckland Airport Tourism Industry Champion Award.
Tourism’s most prestigious individual award, the Crowe Horwath International Sir Jack Newman Award, went to the late Earl Hagaman for his outstanding contribution to the industry. Mr Hagaman co-founded Scenic Circle Hotels in the 1980s. The business rebranded as Scenic Hotel Group in 2009. At the time of Mr Hagaman’s death in May this year, he’d built a portfolio of 18 accommodation properties worth around $200 million. Chris Roberts says this year’s Awards were extremely competitive, a reflection of a thriving industry that is contributing almost $35 billion annually to the New Zealand economy and supporting communities throughout the country.
He thanked the Awards Partners, Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment for their generous support. MBIE chief executive Carolyn Tremain said the Ministry’s tourism policy team works to support the industry to make the biggest contribution it can to New Zealand’s economic success.
“We are really proud to sponsor the awards and celebrate the achievements of the industry. I congratulate all the winners and finalists on their innovative ideas and hard work.”