Tony McQuilkin Wins Tourism Industry’s Most Prestigious Individual Award

5 November 2014

Queenstown based Commercial Director for Real Journeys, Tony McQuilkin, has won the New Zealand tourism industry’s most prestigious individual award - the Crowe Howarth International Sir Jack Newman Award for 2014.

At the Tourism Industry Awards in Wellington last night, Tony was recognised for his three decades of outstanding contribution to the tourism industry and described as one of its ‘unsung heroes’.

Tony began his career in tourism in 1980 as Queenstown Area Manager for Fiordland Travel (which later became Real Journeys) working in an old goods shed on Steamer Wharf where he did everything from running the operations to business development; writing and producing the brochures; to organising events and public relations.

By 1984, he had become head of sales, spending three to four months of the year travelling to the new and emerging markets of China, Japan, Korea and India, building the relationships that have contributed to Real Journeys success today.  His hospitality is legendary, he has hosted countless visitors and agents from overseas both on Real Journeys trips and at his own home.

From 1981 to 1985 Tony was a director on the board of the Queenstown National Travel Association.  He was one of a small group of tourism operators who realised more needed to be done to market Queenstown, setting up the Queenstown Promotion Board (now Destination Queenstown).

In 1986 Tony was appointed a director and became a shareholder in the company.   Tony has always been passionate about tourism, and played a major role in many of Real Journeys developments such as the unique glass-roofed bullet design coaches that maximise views for all travellers, the introduction of the overnight boats, the development of Walter Peak and the uniquely Kiwi multi-day Discovery Cruises.

A strong advocate for the restoration and preservation of the 102-year-old TSS Earnslaw, within four years of starting work for Real Journeys, Tony helped spearhead a huge $100,000 refit of the TSS Earnslaw that made her more comfortable for passengers, whilst carefully retaining her authenticity. 

Tony is on the Real Journeys Board of Directors, remains involved in the Chinese market, the land management of Walter Peak and is currently Chairman of the Queenstown Trails Trust, which nominated him for the award.

Photo above: Tony McQuilkin second from left

For further information contact:

Tsehai Tiffin - Real Journeys Corporate Communications Manager
Mobile: +64 21 523 899