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Adventure tourism - More excitement, less risk

by Daniel Spinelli on
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People on a boat going down the river
Do you feel the call of adventure? Do daring rapids tempt you? Do you enjoy trekking through thick jungle or climbing the highest peaks? Do you dream of biking along the world’s most incredible routes?

Trekking, mountaineering, biking and rafting can be exhilarating experiences that stay with you forever, but they are also potentially dangerous. As adventure tourism grows in popularity, safety is becoming a key issue. ISO is currently working on two standards to keep risk at bay and enjoyment high.

A rapidly expanding market niche, adventure tourism grew by 17 % between 2009 and 2010 and is now included in whole or part in one out of every four trips. This trend looks set to continue : a study carried out by the Adventure Travel Trade Association in 2011 concludes that adventure tourism will feature in 50 % of all trips by 2050.

With this mind, experts from several countries are busy developing two ISO standards on:

  • Safety management systems (ISO 21101)
  • Information to participants (ISO 21103)

A technical report, Leaders - Personnel competence , is also in progress. All these documents are expected to be published in 2013.

The first of these standards, ISO 21101, sets out safety management system requirements for adventure tourism providers, encouraging them to review the activities they offer, understand participants’ requirements, define safety processes, and keep these under control.

The standard can be used to define a safety policy, objectives and plans, as well as set procedures for risk management, personnel competencies, operational controls and emergency preparedness.

The second standard, ISO 21103, specifies the type of information to be provided to potential participants and other interested parties in the adventure tourism industry, with regard to contractual aspects.

Together, these standards will combine to bring greater safety, competitiveness and reliability to adventure tourism worldwide, especially in destinations that need to take sizeable steps to improve their services. And who knows? They might even encourage more people to get outdoors in search of new adventures.

ISO is working on standards to keep risk at bay and enjoyment high.