Southern cheer: region recognised for welcoming ways

Cromwell has emerged as Otago’s most welcoming town. PHOTO: JOHN WEKKING
Cromwell has emerged as Otago’s most welcoming town. PHOTO: JOHN WEKKING
For the warmest of welcomes, we should look no further than our own Otago doorstep, a new tourist survey says. has released its 2024 Traveller Review Awards, and Otago places a healthy No 7 in the top 10 most welcoming regions worldwide — the only New Zealand destination on the list.

The online accommodation portal also released a top 10 most welcoming New Zealand towns, among which two Otago locations — Cromwell and Wanaka — place at No 7 and No 8 respectively.

Rankings were evaluated based on the number of Traveller Review Awards each location has.

The awards evaluate the hospitality, service and standards of travel accommodation, activities and transport providers for each location.

Among the top-ranked accommodation providers listed for Cromwell is Bannockburn House, run by Julia and Chris Stephenson and boasting an "exceptional" 9.8 rating from 67 reviewers.

Mrs Stephenson said hospitality was "second nature" for the couple, and she believed the same went for most Otago accommodation providers.

"We always try and go the extra mile, and provide special touches for our guests, and that’s reflected in our reviews.

"We genuinely love hosting people. I think you have to go a long way to beat our little corner of the world here in Bannockburn, and that probably comes across in the welcome we offer to those who stay with us."

Clutha Development chief executive Linda Moore said people were just as important as place in creating an exceptional visitor experience.

"We spend a lot of time promoting people and place. If our tourism providers ensure visitors get the best experiences when they come to the region, they’re more likely to spread the word to others, and return themselves.

"We try and point them to our own favourite places. It’s that personal touch that makes the region special."

Destination Queenstown chief executive Mat Woods said the results were a reflection of "southern hospitality".

"To be recognised in [this list] is a huge credit to the amazing people of Otago and our southern hospitality.

"Earning this recognition on a list of this calibre shows how strong the visitor experience in Otago is, and how welcoming our wider region is.

"These awards help put the lower south of New Zealand on the map globally and reconfirm what Kiwis already know, that Otago is a world-class region."

Perthshire in Scotland was named the No 1 region worldwide, and coming in at top spot on the list of the most welcoming destinations was the Brazilian city of Arraial d’Ajuda, noted for its azure beaches and warm, welcoming community. — Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald


World’s top 10 regions
1 Perthshire, United Kingdom
2 Penghu, Taiwan
3 Boyaca, Colombia
4 Trentino — Alto Adige, Italy
5 Los Lagos, Chile
6 Erongo, Namibia
7 Otago, New Zealand
8 Lapland, Finland
9 Asturias, Spain
10 Friesland, Netherlands

2024’s most welcoming NZ towns
1 Havelock North, Hawke’s Bay 
2 Whitianga, Coromandel  
3 Lake Tekapo, Canterbury
4 Kaikoura, Canterbury 
5 Kerikeri, Northland 
6 Cambridge, Waikato 
7 Cromwell, Otago 
8 Wānaka, Otago 
9 Raglan, Waikato 
10 New Plymouth, Taranaki