Adventure tourism operators facing financial difficulties are offered interest-free loans from the Aotearoa Tourism Industry (TIA) to help them complete safety audits.
Many operators covered by the Adventure Activities Regulations must undergo their full three-year safety audit in the coming months. Without an audit, which costs an average of $ 4 to $ 5,000, they are not allowed to operate.
TIA is concerned that due to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some operators will find it difficult to cover their audit costs. TIA members facing difficulties will be offered interest-free loans of up to 50% of the security audit fee.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts pointed out that while government ministers were sympathetic, they said they did not have funds available to support security audits. They ruled out the use of the conservation and tourism tax for international visitors.
Roberts advises “this is an unprecedented step for TIA. We explored the possibility of government funding, but ministers told us there was none. We therefore use our own balance sheet to support our members.
“Not only are we supporting our operators, especially small businesses, but we are also helping to ensure that Kiwi vacationers can enjoy these activities during the summer.
“Adventure tourism is a strategically important part of the tourism industry and it is important that adventure tourism businesses survive the impact of COVID-19.”
There are currently 312 Adventure Activity Operators registered with WorkSafe. About half of these are adventure tourism operators and the rest of the commercial outdoor sector (such as school camp providers).
Audits are conducted by private sector audit bodies approved by WorkSafe.
Roberts added, “Safety is always the top priority for adventure and outdoor operators. TIA is proud to support this vital part of our industry during these difficult times.
“We will seek to resume discussions with the government after the elections on the broader issue of relieving tourism businesses from regulatory costs and fees.”
Operators who want more details on the support available from TIA should send an email to [email protected]
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