Qualmark New Zealand today announced that while remaining 100% focused on quality assurance, it will not be taking on additional responsibilities as a provider of safety audits for the adventure tourism industry.
The decision comes as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) works through the process of identifying recognised safety audit providers.
General Manager Tim Keeling says the safety of everyone participating in adventure tourism activities is paramount.
"Qualmark fully supports the requirement for improved safety in adventure tourism operations," he says.
"However, after careful consideration, Qualmark has decided that it is not appropriate for its staff to take on the role of safety auditors, nor is it appropriate for the Qualmark mark of quality to become a regulatory mark of safety standards.
"As such, we will not be putting Qualmark forward to be a recognised safety audit provider.
"Qualmark will continue its focus as New Zealand tourism's official quality assurance organisation, providing a customer facing recognition of quality New Zealand experiences.
"As part of its assessment criteria, Qualmark will continue to require that operators offer proof of compliance with all regulatory requirements, just as it currently does for operators covered under Civil Aviation Authority or Maritime New Zealand regulations.
"We consider that quality assurance is complimentary to safety audit compliance in adventure tourism businesses."
Qualmark remains committed to working with the tourism industry to provide an assurance of quality for customers, and will work with industry to further develop an efficient product that compliments regulatory requirements for safety.
All operators should understand the regulations and the new operator requirements which are explained here (www.supportadventure.co.nz)