One of the lessons we must take from the Whakaari tragedy is the cumulative nature of risk. Repeated visits to the volcanic island by tour guides placed them near unacceptable risk limits.
New Zealand has several volcanic areas that remain popular tourist destinations. A new early-alert system for eruptions would help operators determine when it is safe to visit an active volcano.
The tragedy at Whakaari/White Island highlights the need for consent forms to ensure tourists are fully informed when choosing to visit dangerous locations.
Visiting an active volcano involves risk. Hazard monitoring systems can issue warnings but in the case of the privately-owned White Island, the decision to take a tour falls to tourism operators.
Five people have died and several remain unaccounted for after a sudden volcanic eruption on Whakaari/White Island off the east coast of New Zealand.