Qualmark now 100% Tourism New Zealand owned

The ownership structure of the tourism industry’s official quality assurance organisation, Qualmark, has changed with Tourism New Zealand acquiring the 40 per cent share owned by the New Zealand Automobile Association.

Qualmark is the New Zealand tourism industry’s official quality assurance organisation, first established in 1997.

Together, Tourism New Zealand and the AA have developed it into a trusted independent quality assurance provider that delivers a star rating system for accommodation providers, and an endorsement programme for attractions and leisure activities.

Tourism New Zealand’s Chief Executive Kevin Bowler says despite the change in ownership, it is business as usual for Qualmark.

“We are fully committed to the Qualmark quality assurance programme as it supports the industry to raise its standards and deliver on the promise of a quality New Zealand experience, which in turn delivers greater value for the wider economy.   

“As a national accreditation system Qualmark has been strongly adopted by the industry. There are now around 2000 accredited tourism businesses, 900 of which also hold an Enviro award. 

“We are also particularly focused on the development of a new globally recognised standard of sustainable business practices which will replace the current Enviro award which we will deliver through Qualmark.

“As part of this work it is our intention to establish an industry advisory group to ensure industry views are heard and contribute to this new programme.”

AA Traveller General Manager Travel & Tourism Grant Lilly says the AA has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Tourism New Zealand, but it is time for both organisations to take a new approach to fulfil their objectives.

“Qualmark’s star rating system is a strongly established framework in New Zealand and helps travellers make choices as they experience and tour around the country.”

However, Mr Lilly says AA Traveller, the Association’s tourism-focused arm, is putting its effort into developing fresh opportunities to help grow the tourism industry – particularly in the domestic sector.

“Our focus is on providing quality platforms and big audiences for Kiwi tourism operators to communicate directly with their markets. At the same time we’re working to support the industry with travel promotions, advice and information and market intelligence leveraging the Association’s large Membership base.”

Mr Bowler says Tourism New Zealand and the AA will continue to work together for the benefit of the industry.

“We have agreed to jointly work on a number of initiatives in the future, sharing our relevant experience and expertise.”