The Tourism Minister of India, K.J Alphons has launched the guidelines made by the government of India on adventure tourism in New Delhi on May 31, 2018. The guidelines have been formulated in collaboration with the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) in order to ensure the safety of the people.
During the guidelines release, the tourism minister said that India has a huge scope for adventure tourism ranging from the Himalayas to the coastal regions. The guidelines are an initiative for the development of adventure tourism in India and an extended whole support to all stakeholders for developing this niche sector as to tap the whole potential offered. He also mentioned that the facilities and support staff must match up to global standards to make India a well-equipped destination.
The guidelines include safety measures for all the adventure tourism activities, including 15 land-based, 7 air-based and 7 water-based activities. Some of them are paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, river rafting, bungee jumping etc.
It is indispensable that all adventure tourism stakeholders adhere strictly to all the guidelines and prove for better surveillance.
Some of the major areas covered in the guidelines are the role of a guide, important equipment that is required, inspections and maintenance process, operating instructions, risk mitigation, medical safety, etc. It is a tool to educate the tour operators and other concerned agencies about important safety requirements and lesser-known dangers.
Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President of ATOAI said, “On behalf of the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India, it gives me immense pleasure to present to you the second version of the revised document on Basic Minimum Standards- Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines, which covers 18 activities which are land-based, seven activities which are air-based and six activities which are water-based. This elaborate and essential document has been prepared by a team of experts in each field of adventure. Our Association is grateful to the entire team who have done a lot of research and spent a lot of time and energy to prepare the document. This will contribute to the growth of adventure tourism industry in India. I do hope that the adventure tourism community will take advantage of this and will ensure that they follow these guidelines in letter and spirit.”
“There are three Gs that are critical when it comes to risk management: Guidelines, Guides and Gear. We have tried to address all three aspects in the new guidelines. We have to ensure that we follow the standards and also spread the message that these guidelines should be considered as gospel in the Indian adventure tourism fraternity. The wilderness areas where we operate our trips are sacred places for us. Let us tread lightly and worked as honorary wardens of our great outdoors,” said the co-founder and senior vice president of ATOAI, Ajeet Bajaj.
2018: The Year of Adventure Tourism in India
With the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) announcing 2018 as the “The Year of Adventure Tourism”, the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) is spearheading various activities across the country to promote adventure travel to celebrate the year of adventure tourism.
ATOAI is conducting a series of events, roadshows in India and overseas, FAM trips for international adventure tour operators as well as travel media to mark the celebrations. “The goal is to double the adventure travel in the country in the next two years,” said Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President, ATOAI.
The market for travel and tourism in India is forecasted to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of around 7.23 pc during 2016-2021, on account of increasing trend of medical, wellness and adventure tourism in the country and rising number of online bookings due to growing smartphone and internet penetration.
Commenting on the important issue of safety of solo adventure travellers coming to explore India, Tejbir Singh Anand, managing director, Holiday Moods Adventures, one of the leading adventure tour operators of India and vice president of ATOAI said, “India is a very dynamic and diverse country. It is unlike Europe where you can just hire a car and drive wherever you want to go. It’s very important that one must engage with a licensed adventure tour operator or a partner agency in India.”