9 Sept 16: Tourism Environmental Award finalist

Efforts at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (operated by Tourism Holdings Ltd) to protect the environment have been recognised with selection of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves as a finalist in the Environmental Tourism category at the New Zealand Tourism Awards to be held in September.

The category recognises ecologically sustainable tourism businesses that embrace Kaitiakitanga – businesses that successfully minimise their environmental impact, conserve natural resources, respect local cultures and benefit local communities.

The Waitomo Glowworm Caves have been guided for 126 years and a strong sense of Kaitiakitanga ensures it will be here for future generations to enjoy.

Environmental Officer at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Carl Fischer, says: “Kaitiakitanga is at the heart of the work being undertaken in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.”

The popularity of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, amongst both domestic and international travellers, results in large numbers of tourists visiting the caves to experience its natural beauty and the spectacular bioluminescent glowworms. Essential to this amazing experience is the sustainable management of the stream ecosystem within the caves which support the glowworms.

Cave stream ecosystems are reliant on, and vulnerable to, the environmental conditions in the catchment above them. Over the past year, in partnership with the Waikato Regional Council and land owners in the catchment above the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, important work has been undertaken to restore the stream, including native planting and more than 12km of fencing.

Carl says “It’s an honour to have this work recognised. Support from our partners and the community has been essential to success. The protection of this precious environment is the priority. We are honoured to be representing the Glowworm Caves and Waitomo at these awards.”

The winners of the New Zealand Tourism Awards will be announced in Auckland on Thursday 29 September.