Empowering staff to continually look at sustainability initiatives is saving electricity, reducing waste and increasing community involvement – and has seen Skyline Rotorua maintain the industry’s top sustainability award.
Following an audit which looked at everything from environmental impact to how the organisation embraces manaakitanga – what it means to cherish, conserve, and sustain the plants, animals and the people inhabiting the land, Skyline Rotorua has secured Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Award for another year.
Skyline Rotorua has had the gold status since 2012 and sales and marketing manager Andrew Aitken says a key to that is empowering staff to take improvements into their own hands, through an “opportunities for improvement” register.
It was a suggestion from a staff member which has seen the removal of all plastic straws from the site. Another suggestion from staff has meant every rubbish station now includes recycling bins.
“Several initiatives have been launched recently to reduce power consumption, such as installing LED lighting on the Luge tracks, a new transformer and cabling through the top terminal and motion-activated lights in all our toilets, which means they’re only on when in use.”
The changes to the terminal have seen energy savings of up to 50 percent during normal working conditions, he says.
Mr Aitken says staff are clearly passionate about their responsibility as kaitiaki (guardians) of the site, which sits on the side of Mount Ngongotaha. That responsibility is also becoming increasingly important in the industry with more visitors looking for attractions which they know are sustainable.
“Achieving Qualmark Gold means a great deal to us. The audit process encourages us to take a good look at the way we operate and inspires us to continually seek new improvements.
He says while they’ve achieved the award several times before, it is not something they take for granted.
“We will continue to look for ways to improve what we do.”
Mr Aitken says while environmental sustainability is a focus, it goes far wider than just the environment aspect with a strong community focus which includes giving school students workplace learning opportunities through the Gateway Programme and supporting local organisations like Bluelight, Canteen and Ronald McDonald House who are doing good work in the community.
Qualmark Gold Sustainable Tourism Award is the top level in New Zealand’s Qualmark rating for performers in responsible tourism. There are also Silver and Bronze levels.