Taking the plunge : assessing and managing risks in adventure tourism in the lower North Island, New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Resource and Environmental PLanning at Massey University
This thesis seeks to discover the nature of risks in adventure tourism and how these risks can be managed effectively. There are three major sources of risk i.e. the natural environment, people and equipment. Risk results in consequences. These are usually undesirable events such as drownings. Several incidents have occurred in the recent past prompting negative publicity. To keep incidents at a minimum, several regulatory measures exist for example codes of practice, insurance, risk management plans, legislation, certification and safety standards. These methods can be administered by government, the industry or by businesses themselves. Currently, a combination of the latter two modes of implementation (i.e. industry driven self-regulation) is preferred. A Lower North Island case study using three actives (i.e. whitewater rafting, bungy jumping and jetboating) is used to examine the topic. Operator perceptions of risk are examined, management practices identified and a package for risk management developed. An estimation of the riskiness of the three case study activities is also possible. All businesses interviewed have some form of risk management in place. Operators desire a three tier division of responsibility for risk management including themselves, the government and an industry body.