These ‘new’ regulations were actually introduced in 2011 following 37 deaths in New Zealand across just over four years. Tour operators were supposed to sign up with WorkSafe NZ by the start of this month as part of the regulations. As it stands, about 270 operators have failed to do so, risking massive fines for each day that passes without registering.
Prime Minister John Key, also the Minister of Tourism, is “deadly serious” about the regulations and shutting down non-compliant operators.
“Mark my words, the legal requirements on those operators, if they are in breach of the law, can get very serious, and it will be extremely serious if it starts getting into a criminal action for negligence,” a very serious Key said at a Tourism Industry Association meeting.
“In the end if the United States market and the UK market and the Asian markets start running stories that New Zealand’s adventure tourism is not safe, it will, in the end, destroy the sector.”
The man’s not kidding, as adventure tourists in 2012 made up about 60% of holiday spending in New Zealand – that’s a sweet NZ$1.6 million.
Image via Getty