Stray has gone for gold again and been awarded the prestigious Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award by Qualmark for the fifth year running!
Supported by Tourism New Zealand, Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation and they offer independent accreditation for tourism businesses.
A Qualmark Gold Award is their highest accolade, recognising the best sustainably operated tourism businesses in New Zealand. To be awarded Gold, a business must be delivering exceptional customer experiences and leading the way to make New Zealand a world-class and sustainable destination.
How did Stray achieve this award?
While not an all-inclusive list of the criteria, the Qualmark assessment looks at a company’s commitment to:
- Protecting what makes New Zealand unique and special,
- Protecting the beautiful natural environment in which they operate,
- Enhancing local communities,
- Delivering a high quality and safe experience for customers.
If any of that sounds familiar, it’s because Stray’s been incorporating these values into the route and customer experience for years!
Here are just a few of the ways Stray has committed to making a difference as a tourism operator and led their customers to make a positive impact while travelling:
Lake Aniwhenua Community Programme
Since Stray started staying overnight at Lake Aniwhenua’s Kohutapu Lodge and travellers from around the world began interacting with the local school kids in an outreach programme, the positive impact on this struggling community has been incredible. Aside from expanding the minds of the school kids to think outside the confines of their tiny Murupara township, Stray passengers have also nourished their bodies by delivering more than 16,000 hangi meals to the community.
Blue Duck Conservation Programme
Visitors to Blue Duck Station know that a huge part of their mission is to protect the endangered native bird life. Not only does Stray sponsor a line of 10 pest traps to catch the predators that threaten the namesake blue ducks and other birds, but Stray passengers are encouraged to get involved with pest hunting and trapping, restoration of the native environment and the station’s other numerous conservation efforts.
Native Tree Planting
When it comes to New Zealand’s native trees, Stray is known to attract some real tree huggers! Over the years, Stray passengers have planted nearly 2000 trees in Abel Tasman National Park and a recently launched tree planting programme at the newest overnight stop Raetihi promises to carry on that tradition.
Staff Enviro & Community Programmes
The staff at Stray HQ don’t let the passengers have all the fun – they like to get out and do their part too! The most recent initiatives by the Auckland-based office team include volunteering at the Eat My Lunch charity to make lunches for Kiwi kids in need, raising money for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer NZ through the Auckland Sky Tower Stair Challenge, and participating in the Sustainable Coastlines Manakau Harbour beach clean-up in Auckland.
If you want to learn more, check out the ‘Our Story’ section on the Stray website for even more insights into how Stray passionately strives to make a difference and promote sustainable tourism.