Today’s launch of the new mandatory driver licence for commercial jet boat drivers operating on rivers is a mark of the professionalism and maturity of the sector, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand Chief Executive Martin Snedden.
He congratulated the Commercial Jet Boat Association on the introduction of the licence, and says it reinforces the sector’s strong commitment to visitor safety and satisfaction.
The licence scheme is the result of years of hard work by the Commercial Jet Boat Association, Maritime New Zealand and TIA, which Mr Snedden says has supported the move since it was first mooted.
Jerry Hohneck, Commercial Jet Boat Association President, says the new licence represents a benchmark in jet boating, not just in New Zealand, but the world.
“Commercial jet boat drivers in this country set extremely high standards when it comes to safety and risk management, and the new licence is part of our commitment to continual improvement in this area.”
He says it will also raise the profile of jet boat drivers who give thousands of visitors annually a thrilling and memorable experience on New Zealand’s iconic rivers.
Mr Snedden says the new jet boat driver licence bolsters efforts by New Zealand’s world-class adventure tourism sector to further strengthen safety systems and management.
“It is critical the ‘adventure’ remains in adventure tourism, but the industry has a responsibility to ensure that these experiences are being offered within a robust safety framework,” says Mr Snedden.
TIA is working with operators across the sector to help them meet the government’s new adventure activities regulations and to implement several recommendations that came out of a government review into safety in the sector.
In May TIA launched the www.SupportAdventure.co.nz website, offering adventure and commercial outdoor operators a ‘one stop shop’ for information and advice on running a safe operation. It was developed with support from Outdoors New Zealand and contributions from hundreds of adventure operators across the country.
TIA is also working with the industry experts to develop more detailed safety guides for specific sectors such as indoor rock climbing, caving and canyoning.