Geektastic: I still see a fair bit of what might be termed a lack of attention to detail amongst some providers.
Any chance you can enlighten us on what to avoid ? Those of us not in the tourist industry probably won't know what to be looking out for.
Number one - any company doing helicopter flights in Robinsons!
Without naming names, things I have encountered have included frayed lifejackets which may or may not function when needed, no PLB's on trips which IMV should have had them, staff attitudes that lacked the (IMV) requisite seriousness and correct common sense, First Aid kits that were inadequate for the size of the group, inexperienced staff being placed in positions of sole responsibility. One company I guide for occasionally has attempted to pressure me into taking their clients out shooting, which I refuse to do on the grounds that I am not a shooting instructor or a trained Range Officer so it would be unwise and (legally at least) unsafe. They have verged on bullying trying to get me to do it. I have seen quad bike operators with machines that certainly look less than in good order using staff who would be barely able to lift the machine if it trapped a client. Transport drivers using cellphones when driving.
There are many companies that are extremely good at safety and the necessary staff training, procedure and who invest in good equipment which is well maintained. There are some on the margins, especially in areas that have less tourist traffic, who are not so much.
The company that used to operate the White Island trips, PeeJays, sold the White Island business last year and I have not been with the new owner. PeeJays were very good with the H&S stuff and briefed well, but of course an unexpected eruption is not really a plannable event. They certainly always gave the impression that they expected warning and would cancel in that event - and they pointed out some of the monitoring equipment when on the island as part of the spiel on the tour.