Queenstown-based tour operator Altitude Tours has won the Westpac innovation and resilience award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards, held in Hamilton on Thursday the 10th of November 2022.

The prestigious industry awards received a record number of submissions with over 120 companies vying for top honours. 

This was the first time since 2019 the awards have been held in person, due to Covid and coincided with a full-day summit attended by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. 

The other two finalists for the innovation and resilience award were Haka Tours and The Christchurch International Airport.

Judges noted “the excellent work in co-ordinating with other tourism businesses and called Altitude Tours a proper tourism company – inspirational.

They noted that the product innovations and cycle of development were “quite extraordinary.”

The company doubled it’s experiences through Covid19, connected with the international travel trade and local New Zealand-based inbound agents. The company has arisen from Covid19 not only meeting but exceeding their pre covid revenues. 

“We were growing as Covid19 closed international borders, we are very proud of the work we put in and the mindset we adopted, it’s allowed us to be straight back on a growth trajectory,” says General Manager Heidi Farren.

The creation of NZ’s first gin tour and the world’s first heli-gin tour was a standout experience that not only appealed to a domestic market, it was also quickly swooped up by Tourism New Zealand and included as part of their new IF YOU SEEK global marketing campaign. 

“Innovation and product improvement are key to delivering world-class experiences. We have lots more unique experiences in the pipeline and are also looking at regenerative and sustainability as an important part of how we move forward into the future” says co-founder Nigel Hobbs. 

The awards in Hamilton top off a huge year for Altitude Tours as they were also crowned the world’s best wine tour by Trip Advisor and a finalist in Tourism Export Council awards for best innovation for visitor experience. 

Watch the acceptance speech HERE

About Altitude Tours

Altitude Tours is a fast-growing Southern Lakes sightseeing, private charter and transport company focusing on personalised small group travel with a vision to create and develop world-class travel experiences. With a fleet of modern Mercedes vehicles, Altitude Tours offers top-rated daily tours to Milford Sound, Gibbston Valley, around the Queenstown Basin, Glenorchy and Paradise, and provides transport services to the conference and incentive sector.

Altitude Tours is owned by Queenstown locals Nigel Hobbs and Heidi Farren. Nigel is a prominent founder, investor and director of multiple tourism businesses while Heidi has devoted her career to providing exceptional tourism experiences in various guiding and management roles.