The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a set of measures designed to ensure the safe reopening of adventures tourism.

The body, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, is behind the Safe Travels stamp for destinations.

It has now turned its attention to the adventure sector, for which it hopes to rebuild global consumer confidence and reduce risk in the restart of operations with the new measures (below).

Partners including the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and tour operators such as Abercrombie & Kent, Eurotur, Intrepid and The Travel Corporation (TTC) helped form the basis of the protocols, which cover cycling, rafting, trekking, skiing, snowboarding, wildlife safaris and culinary tours.

The WTTC predicted an increase in popularity in adventure tourism as it believes travellers will seek more unique experiences post Covid-19. It says that with most adventure activities being outdoors, there is less risk of spread of the virus, and that group sizes can be managed to allow for physical distancing.

Backed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the protocols take into account guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and chief executive, said: “Adventure tourism is becoming increasingly popular amongst travellers and will represent a key component to travel in the new normal.

“According to our recently launched Covid-19 Travel Demand Recovery Dashboard, it is also one of the fastest growing segments, which is why it is vital to establish measures allowing safe travels for adventure travellers.

“Consumer confidence is crucial for travel and tourism to resume. We know travellers will want to explore the world around them once more, so long as they are confident in their safety. The return of travel and tourism will help power the world’s much-needed economic recovery, which is why these protocols are so important”

The WTTC says the tourism sector should avoid the emergence of multiple standards, which it believes would only confuse the consumer and delay the sector’s recovery.

Measures include:

  • Reduced capacity limits for activities to allow for physical distancing
  • Ensured difficulty levels do not exceed guest ability and skill, decreasing the need for rescue
  • Clear, consistent, and up-to-date communication on health and hygiene protocols
  • Promote contact tracing apps if required by local legislation
  • Inform guests about support available if questions or concerns arise
  • Share guest guidelines ahead of trip or activity digitally and in person upon arrival.
  • Encourage guests to purchase tickets online if possible
  • Keep the same households, families, or members of group bookings together for all activities
  • Ensure, where possible, that each guest can handle their own equipment and gear for the duration of the trip – or bring their own where possible.
  • Limited physical contact and queuing where possible.