December 16, 2019
Aotearoa safe despite eruption risk
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says New Zealand is still a safe country to visit, despite the loss of life on Whakaari-White Island.
Tourism-related businesses in Whakatane and the wider Bay of Plenty have reported visitor numbers are down after last Monday's eruption, and police, the defence forces and Ngati Awa continue to search for the two bodies so far unaccounted for.
Mr Davis says Ngati Awa has earned great credit for the role it has played, opening its marae to support emergency services and the relatives of the victims while at the same time mourning two of their own caught up in the tragedy.
He says all adventure tourism and eco-tourism carries risk, whether it be skiing on Ruapehu, doping the Tongariro Crossing visiting Auckland, which is built on a volcanic field.
"New Zealand is a safe country. We're open for business. There's still plenty more to see and do for our visitors. I think we need to keep this in perspective, not changing who we are or where we go, aside obviously from an island 50 km offshore," Mr Davis says.
At 2.11 this afternoon, exactly a week since the eruption on Whakaari-White Island, a minute's silence was observed for all the victims.
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