This issue’s cover story, “Stealing the Scene,” features some of the amazing sights and experiences that can be found in what was once considered a remote corner of the world — New Zealand. It’s easy to forget that, not that long ago, New Zealand was thought of as an exotic destination, visited mainly by the truly adventurous. Today, thanks in part to “The Lord of the Rings” films, New Zealand is a relatively attainable and especially popular destination that is now on many travelers’ bucket lists.
At least some of the credit for this change has to be given to the great land and cruise suppliers that have responded to consumer interest and made New Zealand — along with many other once distant destinations — reachable for the ordinary traveler. I truly believe in the power of travel to give people a greater sense of community and a global outlook, and travel companies are the facilitators.
Several years ago, we created the WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards in order to acknowledge the travel companies that are truly the best in the business. These awards give travel agents based in the West the opportunity to vote for their favorite travel suppliers and destinations across the industry. There are categories related to hotels, cruises, tour operators, car rental companies, airlines, destinations, tourist boards, travel insurance and more. (And yes, there is a category for Best Tour Operator South Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.) The WAVE winners, as selected by travel agents, are then honored at a black-tie dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., in June and, let me tell you, the companies are thrilled to win.
To view the nominees, check out the ballot on page 30 (and you can read more about the WAVE Awards starting on page 28 as well), and then cast your vote online at TravelAgeWest.com/WAVE/Vote.
These travel companies are doing their part to bring the world closer together. Let’s do our part and show our appreciation.