Destination New Zealand is hot for 2012
16 Jan 2012
Hot on the heels of Rugby World Cup, and a bag full of international tourism accolades from 2011, New Zealand is set to stay in the international spotlight for 2012.
The 2011 collection of significant awards - designating New Zealand as hot, popular and eco-friendly - confirms Aotearoa New Zealand as a top international destination for visitors looking to fulfill their travel dreams.
Travel authority Lonely Planet has picked New Zealand’s Southern Lakes in the ‘top 10 regions to visit in 2012’, and New Zealand was voted top global eco-tourism destination at both World Traveller and Viagens e Turismo tourism awards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
New Zealand ranked third strongest country brand in the 2011 FutureBrand Country Brand Index (CBI), and in the past 12 months many individual Kiwis - sports people, film-makers, authors, designers, artists, wine-makers and tourism operators - have been recognised as among the best in their field.
New Zealand is among the most researched destinations for UK tourists according to flight comparison website Skyscanner’s 2012 global travel trends report - an analysis of flight search data from 15 million monthly users.
Spain remains the favourite British destination, but a 35% year-on-year increase puts New Zealand in the top 10 destinations receiving growing interest from the British travelling public.
In October, The Telegraph (UK) readers named New Zealand as their second favorite worldwide destination at the Telegraph Travel Awards, and Wanderlust (UK) travel magazine readers voted New Zealand their third most satisfying holiday destination.
Rugby World Cup which brought 133,000 visitors - including significant numbers of UK tourists - to New Zealand in September and October, also delivered New Zealand landscapes and culture along with live rugby coverage to a massive international viewing audience in 230-plus countries.
For 2012, two New Zealand regions have been singled out for international attention.
The Southern Lakes region which includes three major New Zealand tourist destinations - Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Fiordland - is the only New Zealand region to feature in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2012’. Queenstown and Southern Lakes is ranked at #8 for its year-round activities and spectacular scenery.
Kaikoura - New Zealand’s southern whale watching capital - became the first destination in the world to achieve gold in a new global green benchmark for community sustainability efforts. The Gold Community certification awarded by Green Globe recognises the Kaikoura community’s efforts and contribution to New Zealand’s world-leading sustainable tourism credentials.
Cycling and hiking
In 2012, there will be plenty to entice travellers to experience
Destination New Zealand’s natural wonders, unique culture and lifestyle
including some outstanding new cycling and walking attractions.
New Zealand’s developing national cycle trail project - 18 ‘great rides’ through some of the country’s iconic landscapes - is on track for completion towards the end of the year / early 2013. Several cycle ways are already open and others will be opened progressively during this summer and over the coming months.
The ‘great rides’ will join New Zealand’s well established network of nine ‘great walks’ - multi-day hiking treks through a series of wild New Zealand landscapes which include the famed Tongariro Crossing, in the volcanic central North Island, and the Milford Track through the dual world heritage parks of Fiordland on the South Island’s remote southwestern coast.
For intrepid hikers, the Te Araroa Trail - traversing the length of New Zealand - will provide the newest and ultimate walking experience but there are also many opportunities for recreational walkers as the 3000-kilometre trail covers a multitude of shorter day and overnight walks.
Top luxury lodges
New Zealand’s exclusive luxury lodges have also gained international recognition for their high standard of accommodation, superb food and wine, and stunning locations.
Luxury US travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler named the new Matakauri Lodge (Queenstown) in their highly coveted hot list - one of only 66 hotels from 31 countries.
The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs (Northland) and Huka Lodge (Taupo) were both named among the world’s best places to stay by Condé Nast Traveler. The prestigious 2011 Gold List, selected by 25,000-plus readers, ranked the NZ lodges in the top echelon of international lodge / resorts - and at first and second for Australasia and the Pacific.
Condé Nast Traveller (UK) Reader's Travel Awards included five New Zealand lodges in the 2011 Gold List of 108 best international resorts: Mollies (Auckland), Huka Lodge (Taupo), The Farm at Cape Kidnappers (Hawke’s Bay), Wharekauhau Lodge (Martinborough), and Blanket Bay (Queenstown).
The Condé Nast honours also placed The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs at #6 in the world on the Readers’ Choice Top 100 Travel Experiences, and The Spa at Kauri Cliffs at #10 for the Oceania region. The Langham, Auckland placed at #3 for the best hotels in Oceania, and Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa was #15.
Kauri Cliffs also featured in the 2011 Fodor's 100 Hotels selection for luxurious retreats - chosen by Fodor's editors and travel experts for service, stylish accommodation and unforgettable experiences.
The five-star Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa was voted the 'World's Best Hotel Spa' in the 2011 Travel + Leisure magazine's ‘World's Best’ awards readers' survey.
Travel + Leisure readers also voted Kauri Cliffs as the top ‘Lodge / Resort’ in Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, and #11 on the world list of ‘top 100 hotels overall’.
Air New Zealand
Global airline industry magazine Air Transport World named Air New Zealand as the world's top airline. It was the second time in three years for Air NZ which has won more ATW Awards - described as ‘the Oscars of the airline industry' - than any other airline in the past decade.
The ATW judges said Air New Zealand was an industry trendsetter in several areas, including product innovation and social media, and praised it for its staff motivation. It also recognised the airline's environmental initiatives.
Earlier in 2011, Air New Zealand’s revolutionary ‘Skycouch’ - the economy seating that folds down into a bed - won the Aviation category of Condé Nast Traveller’s 2011 Innovation and Design Awards.
Award-winning New Zealand (2011)
- Top global eco-tourism destination - Viagens e Turismo tourism awards in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Nov 2011)
- #1 best ecotourism destination - World Traveller Awards (June 2011)
- #1 Australasia’s leading tourist board - World Travel Awards (Sept 2011)
- #2 favourite worldwide destination - UK Telegraph Travel Awards (Oct 2011)
- #3 most satisfying holiday destination - Wanderlust (UK) magazine (Feb 2011)
- #2 best place to be in 2011 - CNN (Jan 2011)
- #3 strongest country brand - FutureBrand Country Brand Index (Nov 2011)
Green Kaikoura awarded EarthCheck gold
Lonely Planet picks NZ’s Southern Lakes
New Zealand ranks #3 in 'Wanderlust' poll
High fives for NZ’s luxury lodges
Top New Zealand luxury destinations recognised
Queenstown lodge among world’s hottest hotels
New Zealand lodges in 2011 world’s best
Air NZ takes award lying down
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