Government releases renewed guidelines for adventure tourism

In a first, the government has come out with refined safety and quality guidelines for ‘adventure tourism’ on India. The guidelines set in discussion with the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) covers 15 land-based, 7 air-based and 7 water-based activities. The guidelines consists of minimum standards required for activities like mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, river rafting etc.

The guidelines also instruct that all tour operators must be recognised by local or state authorities, have a registered office, responsible to nature, employ trained and skilled professionals. It includes subjects like the role of a guide, equipment required, timely inspections, maintenance processes, operational instructions, risk mitigation and medical safety. The guidelines urge for compulsory insurance protection for adventure tour operators, adventure professionals, clients, as well as resorts and hotels. These will promote safety as well as make an awareness of the risks involved in adventure undertakings in the outdoors. The guidelines also carry SOPs has also been issued for rescues, age-limit for every sport, training, flying permissions, equipments, use of sign board, trained manpower, risk management strategy, inspections and maintenance among others.

“In order to have a strong grip in adventure sports, enhanced safety measures are mandatory. It is imperative that all adventure tourism stakeholders provide for better vigilance and strict adherence to these guidelines. 70 per cent of Himalayas are in our country and we have 8,000 kms of coastline, we have tropical forests, deserts and beaches. Why can’t we have a share of the pie of adventure tourism? We have to make these activities safe and secure for tourists” said Tourism Minister KJ Alphons.

“World over, people are looking for experiential tourism and are not satisfied with just looking at monuments. The first set of guidelines on the subject came out in 2012. These guidelines have been created after extensive discussion with stakeholders. All states need to adopt the guidelines and create awareness among operators to do so,” said Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma.