The 2013 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards gala on Friday was an evening designed to honour what’s most important in the industry – hospitality and “our manuiri”.
Last Friday, the sector saluted the Pacific Resort Group with the night’s Supreme Award – recognition to that importance.
The company, which operates a number of properties across the country, was also recognised with the hotels and resorts award, an internet marketing award, and the outer islands award.
A diverse range of awards were also handed out to select industry players in a diverse range of categories.
Two awards were given out to recognise individual excellence, with Pa Teuruaa being acknowledged for his contribution to the industry through his popular Pa’s Nature Walk.
Robert Skews of Turama Pacific Travel Group received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award.
In the main awards category, popular fish sandwich joint Mooring Fish Cafe in Muri took home the Tourism Industry Support Award, Kavera’s Puaikura Reef Lodges was recognised with the budge accommodation award, and Makayla Palms came out on top in the self catering and customer care categories.
With Vaka Eiva right around the corner, the team behind the paddling festival got an early boost by taking home the Festival and Events Award.
Special award winners included Muri Beach Resort for environment excellence, Highland Paradise for promoting Cook Islands culture and also hosting the premier tourism attraction.
The nation’s best private rental as chosen by the awards committee went to Taakoka Muri Beach Villas.
An announcement was made earlier this year that the 2013 awards process would be slightly tweaked.
The awards committee made a decision to change the entry process by dividing it into two components: a written element, along with face to face interviews with the committee.
According to a tourism awards committee member, the new approach “... is the result of feedback sought from the 2011 Awards and to fit with the 2013 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards theme of Customer Care”.