Tourism operators around the country are being asked to play their part in a campaign to improve safety for visiting drivers this summer.
Educating visiting drivers about New Zealand road rules and driving conditions is part of a suite of road safety initiatives being rolled out by the private sector and government agencies.
“Everyone who comes into contact with visiting drivers who are unfamiliar with our roads and driving conditions has a duty of care to give them advice and guidance which will help make their visit a safe one,” Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) Chief Executive Chris Roberts says.
A toolkit of messages and information that accommodation providers can use to help educate their international guests about driver safety has been published. TIA worked with representatives from the motel, holiday park and hotel sectors to develop the guidelines as accommodation operators are critical partners in educating visitors on what’s different about driving in New Zealand.
“We know many operators already provide a lot of very useful information about local driving conditions, ideal routes to follow and how long a journey will typically take. This toolkit for accommodation operators captures good practice and provides a wealth of information and access to resources to assist in communicating effectively about driving in New Zealand,” Mr Roberts says.
The toolkit complements a similar toolkit provided to rental vehicle operators in October. Both toolkits are available on TIA’s website www.tianz.org.nz/main/Visiting_Driver_Safety
TIA is encouraging other operators and organisations that come into contact with visiting drivers, such as travel wholesalers, visitor information centres, visitor activities and attractions, international education providers and used car dealers, to adapt the guidelines for their own use.
TIA is also leading the development of a new website which will offer useful information about driving in New Zealand to visiting drivers at three key stages of their trip – before they arrive, when they pick up their rental vehicle and during their journey around New Zealand. The new website is due to be launched early in 2015.
Other innovations for this summer include steering wheel tags with simple road safety tips for visiting drivers which are being rolled out nationally after a successful trial in Queenstown. Rental vehicle operators have already ordered 160,000 of the tags for use over the next few months.
Mr Roberts says the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 growth framework stresses the importance of lowering barriers to travel and improving the quality of the visitor experience.
“A road trip is a great way to see New Zealand and get off the beaten track. Nationally, visiting drivers are involved in only a small proportion of crashes but we want to do all we can to keep them safe and ensure they remember their trip for the right reasons.”