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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Adventure Tourism Is Dangerous - That's Why You Do It!

The safety of adventure tourism has recently attracted attention.  The government did a study and report in 2009-10 which has become the basis of tuning up the adventure industry since then. 

But the simple fact is that adventure tourism is, by its very nature, risky.  Those activities - bungy jumping, jet boating, paragliding, tandem parachuting, white water rafting et al - really are dangerous. 

Sure, by careful attention to operational procedures the danger is minimised, but all the professional competence and standards rules can't totally eliminate the risk. 

It's like air travel. Highly regulated operational procedures can't stop something like MH370. S**t happens.

The Tourist Industry Association in NZ takes a lead role in adventure tourism, helping to strengthen safety across this important visitor sector.  The  underlying premise is that the 'adventure' must not be taken out of adventure tourism and that decisions made by government and other organisations need to reflect the reality of operators working in the adventure tourism sector.

To which I'll say amen to that. 

A while back a rafter was drowned in an unfortunate event in Queenstown - which is tragic. 

But the next thing customers were opting out because it was "dangerous".  Well of course it's bloody dangerous - why else would you do it?  Without the danger it's just an expensive and uncomfortable way to get wet, cold and miserable. 

The potential for danger is what gives you the adrenalin rush.

The torism industry is quick to weed out the cowboy operators who are usually under-capitalisded and in shaky financial state - tyhe sort of conditions that lead to safety short cut. 

If you are a visitor here look at the operator with whom you are contemplating an adventure.  If they look professional - if their whole presentation is one of competence -  you can be reasonably sure that they are complying with all the right safety standards.

Membership of the TIA or another industry body is usually a sign that they know what's what and who's who at the zoo. 

So go with them and enjoy the ride. 

For more on New Zealand torurism go to my website A New Zealand Travel Guide




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