New Zealand

TIA – caution needed around adventure tourism proposals

Post-White Island review calls for sensible improvements while protecting businesses viability

Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) says while tourism operators are managing natural hazard risks within their businesses, some practices could be improved without loading significant cost burdens onto operators.

TIA chief executive, Chris Roberts said his organisation is keen to see stronger leadership and more proactive involvement from WorkSafe, particularly to create more guidance documentation in consultation with the adventure and outdoor sector.

And while there are some other sensible improvements that can be made, but broad changes are not required.

In its submission to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s recent consultation paper on proposed changes to the Adventure Activities Regulatory Regime, TIA says some the options put out for consideration do not adequately reflect the complexities of adventure activities undertaken in areas of natural hazards.

The review followed the 2019 Whakaari/White Island tragedy and was targeted at the management of natural hazard risks in adventure and outdoor activities.

Mr Roberts was Chair of the Expert Reference Group formed by MBIE to inform the review which found that while the adventure activities regulatory regime was performing reasonably well, there were several areas that could be improved, including the management of natural hazards, the role of the regulator and the audit process.

“TIA broadly agrees with this finding, and there are some good suggestions in the document, but we have raised concerns that some of options put forward would be unworkable,” Mr Roberts said.

“For instance, we disagree with making natural hazard management the responsibility of landowners, as this could result in many areas being closed to adventure operators – and also the New Zealand public.”

TIA, he said, is not in favour of the creation of a risk classification system and is opposed to any changes to the current audit regime that will result in increased costs to operators.

“Some of these proposals would create a significant chilling effect on the outdoor sector. Costs would increase and it is likely some very good operators would be forced out of business.

“Let’s make the sensible improvements, while also protecting the viability of businesses already hard-hit by the pandemic”.

To read TIA’s full submission, go to https://www.tia.org.nz/assets/Uploads/AdventureActivity-Review-Submission-Final-November-4-2021.pdf

Mike Parker-Brown

Mike Parker-Brown is a UK-trained and qualified journalist and an award-winning travel communicator with more than 30 years experience. Since 2002, Mike has worked as a freelance writer and PR consultant providing his services to major organisations in Australia and internationally in the tourism, aviation, hospitality, recruitment and export marketing sectors.

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