Frequently Asked Questions

What happens once I have submitted my application to join Qualmark? 

One of our Account Managers will make contact to welcome you to Qualmark and will also send you an information pack, with next steps and what you can do to prepare for the on-site evaluation, so you have a clear understanding of the process. 

Who are the Tourism Business Advisors? 

Qualmark has a team of Tourism Business Advisors, who not only undertake the initial and annual assessment but are also here to support you and help add value to your business. They come with commercial experience in business operations, hospitality, accommodation management and/or management in experiential tourism products and undergo full training to undertake your on-site assessment. 

Where are the Tourism Business Advisors based? 

Tourism Business Advisors are based all over New Zealand and have great regional knowledge. Where possible, a Tourism Business Advisor from or near your region who specialises in your business type will be assigned to work with you. 

When will a Tourism Business Advisor contact me? 

One of our Tourism Business Advisors will contact you to discuss your assessment and to arrange a suitable time. They are available to answer any questions you may have prior to coming onsite and are there to ensure you are comfortable with the process.   

Is the Qualmark assessment an audit?  

Qualmark is New Zealand tourism’s official quality assurance organisation, providing a trusted guide to quality travel experiences in New Zealand. Our Tourism Business Advisors undertake the annual assessments using a specific set of criteria. For our accommodation operators, there is an additional star rating system. This is not an audit but an assessment /evaluation against Qualmark’s Sustainable Tourism Business Award criteria, to provide you with an independent evaluation and offering your visitors confidence of a quality experience. 

What criteria is used to assess my business? 

All operators will go through the Sustainable Tourism Business Award criteria, which focuses on economic, environment and culture, social and people, health and safety. Using these criteria allows for a comprehensive look at all aspects of your business and the opportunity to identify areas where business efficiencies could be made. Our accommodation members will also complete a star grading evaluation. 


What happens during the assessment? 

Your Tourism Business Advisor will visit your business on the agreed day and time. They will ask you questions to establish your performance and achievements across the four key areas of the criteria we measure against. Their focus will be providing an independent review of your business to uncover potential, recognise areas to add value and give you the best advice possible.  


Does Qualmark recognise other certifications? 

We understand some businesses require specific audits and certifications to operate legally (e.g. aircraft and boat operators). Where there is an external regulator that governs health and safety in relation to the type of business you operate (e.g. adventure activities), we will expect you to have been audited by that regulator and met their standards. Qualmark recognises the importance of these certifications, and these are taken into account when completing the assessment.   


How regularly are members assessed?  

Qualmark members are assessed annually. One of our Tourism Business Advisors will contact you to arrange a suitable time for the onsite assessment and to discuss or answer any questions you may have.   


What happens if I don’t pass the assessment? 

That’s okay! It just means you and your Tourism Business Advisor have identified areas where improvements can be made, which will ultimately benefit your business and ensure a positive visitor experience. You will have the opportunity to work through these areas with your Tourism Business Advisor, to help you implement the necessary changes. 


What is the COVID Clean Approved assessment and is it compulsory? 

The COVID Clean Approved assessment is an additional compulsory assessment exclusive to our Qualmark members. It is formally recognised and endorsed by the World Travel & Tourism Council and was implemented by Qualmark to give our members the confidence they are adhering to Government COVID-19 guidelines 

In addition to your Qualmark award, you will also receive a COVID Clean Approved logo. This independent logo gives you the ability to demonstrate to visitors the necessary procedures and protocols have been implemented. 



Your Tourism Business Advisor will create a report with their findings against the evaluation framework to award a Gold, Silver or Bronze Sustainable Tourism Business Award, plus an appropriate Star rating for accommodation operators. An action plan of ideas and opportunities to enhance your business will be part of the report. You will also receive a certificate with the result of your evaluation. 


What does a business recognised with a Gold award look like? 

A Qualmark Gold Award recognises the best sustainable tourism businesses in New Zealand. These businesses have demonstrated an exceptional standard in health and safety, economic, social and people, environment and culture and forms an integral part of everything they do. A Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Award identifies those businesses leading the way in making the New Zealand tourism industry a world class sustainable visitor destination and account for about 20% of businesses. You can learn more about Gold, Silver and Bronze awards here.


Member satisfaction 

Ensuring you get the most out of your membership with Qualmark and the assessment process is important to us. Our Account Managers are always available if there is anything you need, and our Tourism Business Advisors will partner with you to ensure relevant information is shared and to help you feel confident throughout the process. 


Ready to join?

Complete our online application form