Queenstown adventure-tourism operators have been praised for
their ''huge depth of industry knowledge and experience'' in
an open-book test of the new national safety regulations they
Tourism Industry Association industry advocate and former
river rafting guide Evan Freshwater, of Wellington, made the
comments after he helped 25 professional risk managers from
the Southern Lakes and Central Otago understand what they
need to do to pass the compulsory safety audit in one year's
November 2014 is the deadline for most adventure- and
outdoor-tourism operators to be registered under Adventure
Activities Regulations 2011.
The adventure audit workshop in Mercure Queenstown Resort
Hotel on Thursday explained the regulations and how the
association and Outdoors New Zealand developed them.
Discussion then focused on where operators fitted and how to
complete the forms.
''If we were to score them, I'd score them an `A' for their
honesty with us to ensure their thinking, but also honesty
with themselves,'' Mr Freshwater said.
''At the start of the day we say grade yourself from zero to
10 on how you feel about your preparation for audit. Hardly
anyone's a 10, most operators say I'm a five,
I just need help with the paperwork.
''Some operators who were a seven or nine say actually, now I
know, I'm a six, so again it's an `A' for honesty and they've
committed to spending the whole day to understand that
they're actually a five, a six or a seven.
''They know where they fall short now.''
Mr Freshwater said the introduction of new safety regulations
would realistically make little difference to the daily
business of Wakatipu operators because they had always had
to, and wanted to, take all practical steps to ensure
customer and workplace safety.
However, the audit was a demonstration and would be proof
operators were taking all practical steps.
''A peer review, or an audit, has always been considered a
really sound idea by those old heads in the game and you keep
having those audits because you're only as good as
yesterday,'' Mr Freshwater said.
''You have competent staff, you let people know what they're
getting into and equipment is fit for purpose.''
Mr Freshwater said if they had not already, adventure-tourism
operators now contracted to an audit provider and most cases,
''OutdoorsMark'', was the pre-eminent auditor available.
Operators then got the pre-audit checklist for real and went
through everything they needed.
The auditor spent up to two days looking through the
paperwork and went out with the operator to experience the
activity in its different environments, before the auditor
completed the audit and notified the Ministry of Business,
Innovation and Employment, he said.
Mr Freshwater encouraged operators to visit the Support
Adventure website for more information.