In India “adventure” is the new buzzword. There are new companies opening every month. Most of the company owners are experienced professionals who have worked in the industry for many years before branching off on their own. A majority of the companies in India offer safe, responsible and eco friendly adventures, which every one can and must enjoy.
Most adventure travel companies follow prescribed international guidelines for the particular sport they are involved in. However in India, other than traditional activities like mountaineering there are no standard guidelines in place for most other activities. The Ministry of Tourism is in the process of laying down guidelines for all adventure sports. Till this process is complete the trade bodies like the Indian Association of Professional Rafting Outfitters (IAPRO) and Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) play a key role in ensuring self regulation. These bodies conduct regular training camps on first aid, CPR, Mountain rescue, swift water rescue techniques and early warning systems.
Older and established rafting and trekking companies regularly conduct refresher courses for their instructors and invite overseas trainers to keep abreast with the latest in rescue techniques.
With the adventure travel industry growing leaps and bounds, it is important that as a consumer and as an operator we are aware of the current safety standards accepted worldwide and in India. The important issue here is for everyone involved to understand the sport, market it to the right people and use the right operator to execute the project.
Firstly, one has to accept that the term “adventure” it implies that there are inherent risks that are involved in the sport. Still, world over there are many more people who are injured or die from crossing roads and other such mundane activities, than from participating in adventure sports. Why is that? The way I see it is that most adventure travel companies today are aware of the risks involved and they train their staff accordingly and are always prepared with back up safety plans incase of any untoward incidents.
However, having said that, one must realize that today the potential risks in adventure travel are much higher. In an attempt to stay ahead in the market, adventure travel companies are today offering increasingly tougher and more exotic adventure trips for the clients to choose from. In the 60s and 70s only a select few were capable of attempting climbing expeditions on Himalayan Summits above 7,000 mts. Today, if you have one year and USD 1, 00,000 you can easily find some one to take to the summit of Everest. Today, you can undertake first rafting descents of Grade V rivers, Heli Ski down 4000 mts peaks, walk into active volcanoes, sky dive from 25,000 ft, trek across Tibet, visit the North and South Poles and even go on a space mission, all for a price. These are just a few example selected from a wide range of insane adventures available all over the world.
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