Friday, May 10, 2013

New Zealand: Update--NZ PM Responds Badly Re: Adventure Tourism Needing Improvement

NZ Prime Minister John Key did not have one of his finest hours when he publicly criticized Briton Chris Coker's who lost his son, Bradley, not to mention three other tourists and a total of nine persons in the September 2010 crash of a skydiving aircraft.

What needs to be emphasized is that the both the Fox Glacier crash (in which Corker's son was killed) and the January 2012 Carterton hot-air balloon crash in which eleven people died involved tour operators that had traces of cannabis in their systems at the time of both crashes, suggesting the need for mandatory drug testing.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, despite the fact that the Fox Glacier crash occurred well over two years ago, adventure tour operators in NZ still are not subject to mandatory drug testing, particularly at a time when such testing is the norm worldwide.

Considering that PM Key may be too close to a government program he oversees (he's also is NZ's minister of tourism), his deflection of Mr. Corker's observations earlier this month may have been ill-advised.

Criticism of NZ's adventure tourism industry is not just coming from Corker, but the families of other tourists killed in the two crashes.

Unfortunately, NZ is also beginning to develop a reputation as having a formidable crime problem and far-too-frequent roadway crashes, both of which is hardly commensurate with the country's small population.

In view of the fact that foreign tourism is an entity that can change as precipitously as it began, the NZ government should begin to listen to foreign tourists and their observations on safety issues.

New Zealand is not nearly as easy to fly to as many destinations. It is out-of-the-way of and costly to get to, which are other reasons why government officials should be responsive to criticisms made by foreign tourists.

Foreign tourists who return home in the cargo compartment of an airliner can hardly endorse repeat travel to New Zealand.