Sudima Hotels have won the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.

The group was also named the winner of the Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award and the Enviro-Mark Solutions Environmental Award, at a gala dinner in Christchurch on Thursday evening. The event was attended by more than 430 industry leaders and supporters.

Starting as a family business, Sudima has expanded rapidly, with four properties in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch, including the recently opened Sudima Christchurch City. Two more will open in Auckland City and Kaikōura in 2020.

Sudima was the first hotel group in New Zealand to be awarded a carboNZero certification. Its environmental efforts extend to its suppliers, who are selected for their commitment to sustainability.

Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Chris Roberts said creating a tremendous staff culture has been integral to Sudima’s success.

“The judges described Sudima CEO Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala as a visionary in his people approach which is best summed up as ‘look after your people and they look after your business’. The results are showing in Sudima’s exceptionally strong staff retention rates,” Mr Roberts said.

Sudima Hotels receives a prize valued at over $20,000, including $10,000 international air travel and a full-page advertisement in Air New Zealand’s Kia Ora magazine.

Watch this interview with Sudima’s Director of Hotels, Les Morgan, where he discusses how the business values its people.

The Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award went to Glenys Coughlan. Coughlan has led organisational change and industry transformation initiatives at national and regional levels. Her roles have included high profile management positions at Air New Zealand, New Zealand Tourism Industry Association (now Tourism Industry Aotearoa), Positively Wellington Venues and Tourism Central Otago.

She also has extensive governance experience, serving on numerous tourism boards, including Tourism New Zealand, Te Papa, Dunedin Venues Management, ATEED and Sounds Air. She has chaired Positively Wellington Tourism, the PATA New Zealand Trust and Outward Bound New Zealand.

Mr Roberts said this year’s Awards were extremely competitive, a reflection of a thriving industry that is providing economic, environmental and social benefits to New Zealanders and Aotearoa.

The 2019 Awards were updated to align with the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment, recognising environmentally sustainable and financially successful tourism businesses that embrace kaitiakitanga. Three new awards – for Community Engagement, Employer of Choice, and Economic Success – attracted strong interest from entrants.

More than 110 tourism businesses and individuals entered the awards. They were whittled down to 37 finalists from around New Zealand.

“It’s pleasing to see the focus our business winners are putting on environmental and host community sustainability, as well as financial performance,” Mr Roberts said.

He thanked the Awards Partners, Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment for their generous support.