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YHA Aoraki Mt Cook proud to be among the best of Pure New Zealand

YHA Aoraki Mt Cook was successful in reaching the finalist list of the Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Awards.

South Island

The inaugural awards were held in Wellington on May 1 to recognise exceptional visitor experiences within New Zealand tourism.

These awards recognise the best of the best in New Zealand tourism and are intended to inspire continuous improvement among those tourism operators already achieving at a high level.

The judging panel including representatives from Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand assessed entries against the three award criteria of manaakitanga, tiaki and whānau. Finalists and winners were those who go above and beyond in providing outstanding experiences for visitors and the local community alike.

YHA Mt Cook lounge area with fireplace

YHA New Zealand Chief Executive, Mark Wells, is delighted to be included in the prestigious list.

“YHA Aoraki Mt Cook is a truly outstanding hostel and we’re really pleased to be recognised as one of the best visitor experiences in the country,” says Mr Wells. “We submitted YHA Aoraki Mt Cook as an exemplar of YHA hostels around the network because it epitomises our commitments to manaakitanga, sustainability, and budget accommodation excellence.”

YHA Aoraki Mt Cook is the highest-rated of YHA New Zealand’s 13 managed hostels. The hostel achieved a 91.7% Global Review Index and a 93.1% ReviewPro score for Service in the 2018 year. This was reinforced with an annual occupancy rate of 89% despite the hostel’s remote location.

YHA Mt Cook private double room with window

Hostel Manager Richard Girling was in Wellington for the awards evening.

“Our guests come from all over New Zealand and the world, and trust us to provide great quality accommodation at competitive prices. This means we’ve built a philosophy of continuous improvement into our organisation as we continue to meet and exceed guest standards in an increasingly competitive industry,” says Mr Girling. “It’s really gratifying to be recognised as one of the best in our field for our work.”

Award entries were open to tourism businesses holding a current Gold Qualmark licence, encouraging these operators to continue striving for excellence. Eligible operators were asked to select a single, bookable product which exemplified the best of their core business.

“Entrants will have already shown they have exemplary business and sustainable tourism practices by gaining Qualmark Gold status. To receive a Qualmark 100% Pure New Zealand Experience Award, Qualmark Gold licence holders must show they go the extra mile in providing an exceptional visitor experience,” says Qualmark General Manager Gregg Anderson.


Hostel Manager Richard Girling receives certificate


Finalists were announced mid-April and included 41 businesses from a pool of over 100 entries. The Award ceremony took place in Wellington, with Minister of Tourism Kelvin Davis presenting the accolades. The seven winners included Rotorua Canopy Tours’ Ultimate Canopy Tour, Hanmer Springs Hot Pools, Camp Glenorchy, and Real Journeys’ Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise. YHA represented the only budget accommodation network among the finalists.

YHA Aoraki Mt Cook has held a 4 Star Plus Gold licence since 2017 after the system was refreshed to reflect Qualmark’s new Sustainable Tourism Business Criteria. Prior to this change the hostel held a Gold Enviro Award, reflecting a long-term commitment to sustainability. Currently all YHA-managed hostels hold Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Awards; YHA hostels account for 13 of the 15 Gold Awards achieved by operators in Qualmark’s Backpacker category.

1 May 2019

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