Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
Last week, an eruption at New Zealand’s popular White Island volcano killed 16 people and it’s raised questions about why potentially dangerous tourist destinations aren’t better regulated for safety. This follows a year on Mt. Everest where overcrowding from unqualified mountain climbers created dangerous conditions at the summit.
To make matters worse, in New Zealand geologists had repeatedly warned of increased volcanic activity yet tourists were still permitted to hike the rim of an active volcano. After the eruption, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: “There will be questions that will be asked and do need to be answered by the appropriate authorities.”
What Experts Say: As the Wall Street Journal reported, Michael Lueck, a tourism professor at Auckland University of Technology, says it may be time for the tourism industry, governments and volcanic experts to review current rules. “I’d rather people were a little more cautious than letting people run into their doom,” he said.
The problem is especially acute in New Zealand, which promotes itself as the adventure capital of the world. Experts say tourism operators need to strike a fine balance between providing the excitement thrill-seeking tourists are looking for, and ensuring the safety of everybody involved.
The Liability: While injured tourists have previously sued tourism companies and cruise ship lines for adventure tourism injury, legal liability for accidents vary by country. There’s no real standard, so it’s unclear who will push travel and tourism operators to give more stringent warnings to their customers.
Additionally, James Hickey a volcanologist and lecturer in geophysics at University of Exeter told Skift that “If you’re going to do a bungee jump or a sky-dive you sort of accept that there’s a level of risk there, maybe that needs to be better communicated in geo-tourism and volcano tourism.”
Why This Matters: As the WSJ explained, tourism, which many countries once considered a business niche that could yield easy revenue, has become a mega-industry, outpacing global economic growth.
International tourist arrivals grew to 1.1 billion in the first nine months of this year, up 4% on the same period a year earlier, the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization says.
While tourists themselves are certainly guilty of bad behavior, local and national governments also need to step up to ensure that people aren’t unknowingly putting themselves in harm’s way.
Go Deeper: The surprising ads once used to sell tours to the deadly White Island volcano.
by Natasha Lasky, Our Daily Planet Contributing Writer This past week, California’s biggest utility, PG&E, conducted the largest brownout of the year, shutting off the power for 466,000 people in 34 counties, affecting 1.1 million people. The blackouts have hit small towns as well as densely populated parts of the San Francisco metropolitan area, including […]
by Natasha Lasky and Miro Korenha A wave of deadly forest fires has erupted in Colorado, despite the fact winter storms have begun hitting the state. Warming temperatures across the West Coast have lengthened fire season into November, with disastrous consequences. Three mega-fires have erupted near Denver — the largest (Cameron Peak Fire) and second-largest […]
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Contributing Writer A study published yesterday in the journal Nature suggests that revitalizing ecosystems in a global, holistic way could be an immensely effective way to heal the Earth’s climate. In particular, forests, wetlands, and grasslands would benefit most from restoration — protecting just 30% of these priority areas could save […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.