Adventure tourism

NZ is well known for adventure tourism. These are the kinds of activities that young backpackers enjoy doing in our country. One of the first commercial adventures was bungy jumping but now there are many other activities. These include sky diving, paragliding, hang gliding, rafting, hot air ballooning, caving, canyoning, quad biking, heli-skiing and jet boating but there are many more. One of the first adventure tourism towns was Queenstown but now there are many towns or small rural places which offer fun and excitement for people who want thrills.

However, these kinds of activities are risky. There is a risk of an accident. Most companies which run activities like this, are very concerned about safety. They employ trained guides, and carry safety equipment. Tourists wear suitable clothing like life jackets or helmets, depending on the kind of activity. However, not all companies pay enough attention to safety. And there have been accidents.

One father of a young woman who was killed last year on a river in Queenstown wrote to the Prime Minster about poor safety standards for adventure tourism.

Now the Prime Minister, John Key, who is also the Minister for Tourism, says that there will be a review of companies which offer adventure tourism. Any companies which are not safe will be shut down. Perhaps they will need a licence to show they can protect their customers.

Adventure tourism brings in about $2 billion a year which is about 10% of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is a big and important industry to New Zealand.