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Hotel group wins Supreme Tourism Award

24 October 2019

A New Zealand hotel group that is excelling as an employer and in environmental sustainability is the winner of the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award.

Sudima Hotels were also named as the winners of the Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award and the Enviro-Mark Solutions Environmental Award at a gala dinner in Christchurch this evening (Thursday 24 October). The event was attended by more than 430 industry leaders and supporters.

The Awards judges said Sudima is getting better all the time, with a broad range of superb initiatives that are making a difference to the business, the environment and the wider community. 

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 actively strives to reduce its environmental footprint, and ensure it is inclusive and welcoming of all guests and staff, whatever their background or needs. Its properties are designed to be accessible to all, regardless of physical ability.

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.

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts says 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 says. 

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.

Tourism’s most prestigious individual honour, the Horwath HTL Sir Jack Newman Award, went to Glenys Coughlan, who has enjoyed a stellar career in tourism. Using her well-developed commercial skills and flair for creative thinking, she has led organisation 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 says 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 says.

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

To learn more about all the winners of 2019 New Zealand Tourism Awards, go to

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners

Thanks to our strategic partners