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Tourism Industry Aotearoa offers ‘unprecedented’ loan facility for adventure tourism operators

Tourism Industry Aotearoa offers ‘unprecedented’ loan facility for adventure tourism operators
October 6, 2020

Adventure tourism operators facing financial hardship are being offered interest-free loans by Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) to assist with the completion of safety audits.

Many operators covered by the Adventure Activities Regulations are due to undergo their full three-yearly safety audit in the next few months. Without an audit, which costs an average $4-5000, they are not permitted to operate.

TIA is concerned that, due to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, some operators will struggle to cover their audit costs. TIA members facing hardship will be offered interest-free loans of up to 50% of the safety audit fee.

TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts highlighted that while Government Ministers were sympathetic, they stated they had no funds available to support safety audits. They ruled out using the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.

Roberts advises “this is an unprecedented step for TIA. We have explored the possibility of government funding but have been told by Ministers that none is available, so we are using our own balance sheet to support our members.

“Not only are we supporting our operators, particularly small businesses, we are also helping ensure that Kiwi holidaymakers will be able to enjoy these activities over the summer.

“Adventure tourism is a strategically important part of the tourism industry and it’s important that adventure tourism businesses survive the impact of COVID-19.”

There are currently 312 adventure activity operators registered with WorkSafe. Approximately half of these are adventure tourism operators and the remainder are from the commercial outdoor sector (such as providers of school camps).

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 sector of our industry through these challenging times.

“We will look to resume discussions with the Government after the election on the broader issue of providing relief to tourism businesses from regulatory costs and fees.”

Operators who want more details of the support available from TIA should email member@tia.org.nz

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