Adventure Tourism is one of the sectors of tourism industry that is greatly affected by COVID-19. Nevertheless, the likelihood to reboot and recover is greater for Adventure Tourism as the services offered are nature-based, conducted in rural areas and only involve small groups. This niche tourism industry has its own unique resiliency as compared to other tourism categories and is able to continue its operation for avid adventure tourists whenever they are ready to start their adventure again (upon the ‘withdrawal’ of any related travel restrictions). However, in any case, adjustment and adaptation to the ‘new norms’ must be implemented. Recovery and rebound processes must be made in-line with the new market realities.
In order to pave the way for strengthening the sustainability of health and safety-related adventurous travel, Adventure Travel and Trade Association (ATTA) in collaboration with its global community and team of experts, has proposed a list of recommendation as below. The list puts forward practical suggestions in promoting safe adventurous travel among adventure tourism operators, tourists/clients, as well as associated service providers involved.
ATTA’s TEN Recommended Actions:
“Reassess your market, consider all options”
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of human life, including future intention of potential tourists. Identify how this pandemic affects your market and look for alternative approaches. Among the recommended approaches are reexaminations for business possibilities involving local, regional, domestic, international short hauls, and international long hauls. In other words, conduct market reassessment and take all available options into consideration.
“Adjust your product according to the market”
Upcoming products must be relevant to the new demands resulted from market changes. This is a vital strategy towards recovery. Identify the form of experiences demanded by prospective clienteles in post-COVID while simultaneously take into account competitions from other operators and service providers.
“Develop a risk assessment approach”
This aims to objectively help us in order to be in the know concerning the current situation, particularly in relation to hygiene and sanitation measures. Safety and hygienic aspects are required by the ‘new normal’ for protecting our management team, operational crew, potential clients, as well as the surrounding communities.
“Map and develop health and safety protocols for team and travellers, specific to your product and activities”
It is necessary to formalize new steps, protocols, briefings, and cleaning processes, as well as to keep the situation secure and regulated, with the intention of allowing safer environment to work. These health and safety procedures should also be meticulously formulated in order to make them unique to our products and activities.
“Train and inform your team on the protocols on health, sanitation, and hygienic measures”
These are crucial for keeping the staff/crew well-aware, notified, as well as putting them on the same page. Such trainings, information, and procedures include:
- Hands hygiene
- Personal protective equipment
- Physical distancing measures
- Cleaning of equipment, surfaces and attires
“Consider your need to have new mandatory equipment in stock for this new reality”
Take into account the must-have supplies for this new normal and plan earlier to make sure they are always available in stock. These may include an adequate supply of:
- Personal protective equipment for management team, operation crew, and prospective clients.
- Sanitation and hygienic equipment.
“Implement your operational adaptations and redesign your experience to help protect your team and your travellers”
Application of specific actions and innovations such as cleaning procedures for places and appliances that are highly touched, building physical barriers, promoting physical distancing, and opting for touchless solutions.
“Adjust your terms and conditions”
Introduce new cancellation policies and identify how our business is covered by insurance. At the same time, consider choices available for potential clients in the current market conditions such as informing them about possible risks (e.g. quarantine, prohibition to participate) and the procedures to handle such risks.
“Promote health screening and be prepared to respond when symptoms appear in team and travellers”
Create policies that clearly explain how to perform self-monitoring and the necessary steps that ought to be implemented should any of the management team and operation crew experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Similarly, related policies and procedures should also be clearly informed to clients in advance.
“Be transparent and inform travellers about all you are doing and all that they should expect to do for themselves”
We are all mutually responsible for our health and safety in this new normal. We are not experts in COVID-19, but as professionals in Adventure Tourism, make it clear to everyone (especially potential clients) that any issue pertaining to the virus will be handled and responded according to proper policies.