Premier South Island tourism company Southern Discoveries has again cemented its position as an industry leader with a trifecta of accolades.
Southern Discoveries’ Go Milford coach and cruise business, based in Te Anau, has been announced 2012 New Zealand-Wide Bus and Coach category winner by online travel review site Rankers. The win is based on rankings posted by independent travelers over the past 12 months.
At the same time, another of the company’s products, Milford Sound Cruises, has also been recognised with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, the first for the company for 2012. Milford Sound Cruises received a rating of 4.5 out of 5.
Making it three out of three, Southern Discoveries’ Queenstown Lake Cruise, only launched last year, is already making inroads on all-important online rankings, currently ranked at number 13 out of 107 in the Queenstown Tours category of TripAdvisor.
Southern Discoveries General Manager John Robson said the accolades were confirmation that the company continued on the right track following a period of major growth and development.
“At all times throughout our expansion, we’ve worked very hard to ensure that a positive customer experience is paramount,” he said.
“We’re delighted and extremely happy to see results such as these from independent travellers.
“The importance of receiving accolades from Rankers and TripAdvisor is based on the fact that this is independent feedback direct from our customers.”
Go Milford is the company’s premier coach tour to Milford Sound. The Rankers accolade comes on the back of recent restructuring and consolidation for Southern Discoveries that saw the company commit to improvements across its Milford Sound operations.
Southern Discoveries is one of the region’s oldest and most established operators and has been in expansion mode since being purchased by the Skeggs Group in 2008. Following a re-brand from Milford Sound Red Boats to Southern Discoveries Ltd, the company purchased and invested in shareholdings in Queenstown, Milford Sound and Te Anau.
Southern Discoveries consolidated its Milford offering with the re-opening of the Milford Discovery Centre & Underwater Observatory in 2010, the purchase of Go Milford Coach & Cruise business, and the establishment of a kayak venture off the Discovery Centre in Harrisons Cove.
Strong management and clear strategic direction has also seen a successful expansion outside of its traditional Milford and boat operations.
The company’s growth has included investing in a 50% shareholding in Kawarau Jet and the purchase of Queenstown Fishing Guides and Charters.
In addition to its four luxury Milford cruise boats, Southern Discoveries also operates the Milford Discovery Centre & Milford Deep Underwater Observatory, the Blue Duck Café & Bar in Milford and information and booking centres in Queenstown and Te Anau.
Plans for further expansion in the Queenstown market are underway with consent granted to operate a 150-person catamaran on Lake Wakatipu.
In Queenstown the Queenstown Princess offers daily lake cruises and private charters.
“We’re happy that we have been successful and sustainable in our expansion aims, but also that we have maintained our status as tourism operator of excellence, in keeping with this incredible region we operate in,” said Mr Robson.