Air New Zealand has been named the winner of the Global Tourism Business category at the World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual summit in Abu Dhabi. The airline received top honours at the 2013 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, being praised for its commitment to maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s green, eco-friendly image.
The annual summit, at which former US president Bill Clinton was the keynote speaker, recognised the airline's dedication to preserving the environment and its financial support to environmental projects in New Zealand.
In the past five years Air New Zealand has worked to become the world’s most environmentally sustainable carrier, reducing its carbon footprint by 15 per cent. Additionally, the airline has set up the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, which supports local projects around the country aimed at improving its eco-friendly image and protecting the magical New Zealand landscapes that attract visitors in their thousands.
“We take our responsibility to promote sustainability very seriously and continue to shrink our carbon footprint as we work towards our goal of becoming the world's most environmentally sustainable airline,” said Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s chief executive officer. "Alongside this we've invested in enhancing some of New Zealand's most iconic natural assets through our partnership with the Department of Conservation to support biodiversity projects on the Great Walks network."
The annual awards ceremony is internationally regarded as one of the leading awards ceremonies that recognise sustainable tourism practice. 46 countries took part in the summit this year, being assessed by a group of 20 international judges on key factors such as environmental commitment and sustainable tourism.