Qualmark's General Manager Tim Keeling says this means any Qualmark Endorsed Visitor Activity is automatically approved as satisfying the Ministry's Adventure Activities' regulatory requirements without the need for further costly auditing.
"Qualmark businesses have clearly demonstrated their commitment to quality and safety, and we feel this is a positive step which will be welcomed by tourism operators already facing increased compliance obligations," he says.
"Our focus is on working with the industry to seek ways we can maximise the value of quality assurance, and this recognition of the Qualmark endorsement provides just that."
A Qualmark Visitor Activity assessment considers all aspects of business practice and customer experience, including a safety provision. As such, the Ministry has decided that no additional auditing is required for Qualmark licence holders to meet the safety requirements.
The Qualmark status as an approved audit provider is valid at this stage until 31 December 2012.
An interim list of approved audit providers was released yesterday (30 July) by MBIE.
The Ministry is taking a staged approach to registration and will be undertaking further work to determine which safety auditing providers will be recognised to provide safety audit certificates for the purposes of the regulations beyond 31 December 2012.
The Adventure Activities regulations require all adventure activity operators providing activities designed to deliberately expose participants to a risk of serious harm, to undergo a safety audit by a recognised auditor and be registered by the end of 2014.
For more information please visit the Health and Safety section of the Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation website http://www.osh.govt.nz/law/adventure-activities/index.asp