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Adventure is the spice of life and, when it comes to tourism, it can make for a memorable, rewarding experience. But it is not without its risks, so minimizing those risks is at the heart of several specific ISO standards. The latest one for leaders has just been updated to ensure you are in safe hands when you take the leap.

ISO 21102, Adventure tourism – Leaders – Personnel competence, details the requirements and recommendations for the necessary competencies of adventure tourism leaders. Capturing global best practice, the standard gives employers an internationally agreed benchmark that cuts through the vast number of training programmes for adventure tourism guides. This gives them confidence that their staff have got what it takes to make the experience safe, and that the leaders themselves get a competitive edge.

The new spectacular extreme water sport called flyboard.

ISO 21102 has been revised and expanded to address the growing number of qualifying programmes for adventure leaders around the world.

Alexandre Garrido, Project Leader of the working group of experts that developed the standard, said the array of qualifications for the competency of leaders in the tourism industry is not only confusing but could pose dangers if they are not well understood.

“Different activities require different competencies, but there are many that are common to all, such as risk management, emergency response, professional behaviour and ethics,” he said.

Leonardo Persi, Convenor of the working group, said that ISO 21102 represents internationally agreed guidelines that outline minimal levels of such competencies as well as measures for the correct level of technical ability and knowledge. 

“This ensures that every stakeholder is clear on what is expected, thus instilling confidence in employer, employee and participant,” he said.
What’s more, Persi added, the standard will improve the level of services globally as it encourages operators to be aware of and accept their responsibilities. This will help raise safety standards in the adventure tourism industry as a whole by encouraging the adoption of good practices everywhere.

ISO 21102 joins other ISO standards dedicated to safety in adventure tourism, including:

  • ISO 21101, Adventure tourism – Safety management systems – Requirements
  • ISO 21103, Adventure tourism – Information for participants
  • ISO 20611, Adventure tourism – Good practices for sustainability – Requirements and recommendations

They can be used by adventure tourism providers of all types and sizes, operating in different geographic, cultural and social environments.

ISO’s adventure tourism standards are developed by technical committee ISO/TC 228, Tourism and related services, the secretariat of which is held by UNE, ISO’s member for Spain. They can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store.

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