Quality a key attribute for inbound tour operators

Published: Thu 6 Dec 2007 04:50 PM
Quality a key attribute for inbound tour operators
Inbound tour operators are set to reap the benefits of being Qualmark accredited.
“Qualmark has added another sector to its portfolio of visitor accommodation and activity categories. Inbound tour operators can now attain Qualmark accreditation – a really exciting and positive move for both of us, and the tourism industry overall,” said chief executive officer, Geoff Penrose.
The news was announced at the Inbound Tour Operator Council (ITOC) Forum this afternoon. The first two inbound tour operators to be quality assured under the category, General Travel and Pacific Destinationz, were presented their Qualmark accreditation certificates by Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Damien O’Connor, at the event.
The criteria for measuring quality within the inbound tour operator sector includes a set of minimum requirements. The criteria development included extensive consultation with operators.
“Qualmark is a leading quality assurance system which makes us the envy of other destinations worldwide,” said Tourism Minister, Damien O’Connor.
“The fact that inbound tour operators can now take advantage of the system adds another string to our bow and is major step forward. A quality tourism offer is a strong theme in the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015. Initiatives like this reflect the industry’s resolve to offer visitors the very best experience possible,” he said.
Council president, Brian Henderson, said ITOC is proud to be working with Qualmark in promoting quality as a key success factor in the inbound tour market.
“ITOC has made its commitment to quality clear – from 2009 all our full member tour operators will have to be Qualmark endorsed. To ensure the criteria meets the needs of the industry and travellers, we have worked with Qualmark in establishing a robust and credible accreditation system specifically for this sector,” said Mr Henderson.
Mr Henderson went on to say that with inbound tour operators continuing to play a key role in New Zealand’s international tourism market, Qualmark accreditation will ensure professional and trustworthy operators are clearly identifiable for the travel industry and the travelling public.
Criteria includes standard requirements in relation to customer service (including product sale and service, customer satisfaction and feedback mechanisms); facilities, equipment and surrounds; people management, development and wellbeing; environmental responsibility, heritage and cultural considerations; health and safety; business management and overall performance; agreeing to the Qualmark code of ethics; and the selection and management of produce and service providers.
Graeme Badland, Managing Director, Pacific Destinationz Limited said: "Having an external assessment of our business processes and management by Qualmark has been a healthy exercise for us. Pacific Destinationz is committed to consistently providing high quality and cost effective services to international visitors across New Zealand, Fiji and the Pacific Islands The Qualmark accreditation confirms we are adhering to our core values and company mission statement."
Peter Black, Chairman and Managing Director, General Travel Group New Zealand said: "General Travel is proud to be one of the first two operators awarded the Qualmark accreditation for Inbound Tour Operators. It is essential for the tourism industry to have quality assessments to ensure our visitors enjoy their experiences in New Zealand and Qualmark is a good indicator to the client of the level of service they can expect to receive."

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