The accolades are flowing thick and fast for the team at Queenstown’s Ziptrek Ecotours.
Founder Trent Yeo won the PATA New Zealand Trust Emerging Tourism Leader Award in the prestigious New Zealand Tourism Awards, recognising his work as an outstanding tourism professional.
Ziptrek sales executive Kenny Wynter was also recently announced as the only Queenstown-based member on the seven-strong YoungTEC Executive team for 2020.
YoungTEC is an arm of the Tourism Export Council which offers support, education and networking opportunities to young tourism professionals.
Trent says his award, while recognising his achievements in setting up the pioneering zipline company in tandem with multiple roles in industry organisations, events and working groups throughout New Zealand, could not have been achieved without his ‘team’.
"The tourism leader award isn’t just about me; it recognises the hard work of all the crew, past and present, who have contributed so much in the almost ten years we’ve been in operation," he says.
Ziptrek Ecotours is a recognised leader in business innovation, eco-tourism and sustainable business practice and Trent says the award could not have come at a better time for the business and the industry as a whole.
"Entering the award brought into sharp focus how much time and effort I’ve put not only into Ziptrek but into the wider industry," he says. "I’m really excited to be at the peak of my career when the New Zealand tourism industry is moving so strongly towards developing our sustainability on a global scale."
The judges recognised Trent’s ability and commitment to go beyond his own business and demonstrate what they called "great examples of transformational leadership", impressed with giving his time and generosity to the industry at the same time as the business recorded excellent achievements.
They also praised his entrepreneurial approach and innovation, and his dedication to responsible and sustainable tourism.
Meanwhile, Kenny says he was "excited to contribute, collaborate, learn and listen" in his role on the YoungTEC executive to continue to improve on New Zealand’s unique tourism offering.
He began his tourism journey by studying for a degree in International Tourism Management, and his passion for social licence meant his dissertation explored Corporate Social Responsibility.
After graduating he was naturally drawn to work for Ziptrek Ecotours, giving him an introduction to the world of eco-tourism. After working for them for a year, he left to gain international experience before returning to Ziptrek in 2017.
"I’ve been working to spread the word about their stance as the pioneers in eco-exhilaration ever since," he says.
His other industry roles include being a member of the BYATA steering group for Queenstown, taking issues and initiatives to a national level, and also being an active member of Queenstown Young Professionals.
Multi-award-winning Zipline Ecotours is celebrating ten years in business this year, as the pioneers of ziplining and eco-tourism in New Zealand.