Every year, someone comes up with a brand-new kind of adventure – usually more risky than the last madcap idea. First there was base-jumping with a parachute from cliffs, towers and monuments. That’s illegal in many places. Not satisfied with the level of risk, urban crazies (they sometimes call themselves “street activists”) are trying to reclaim the concrete jungle for real adventure with sports like Geocaching, Elevator Surfing and Drainboating. More on these weird challenges later.
Where does innovation in extreme sports take adventure tourism? Many enthusiasts would like to introduce their passion to paying clients. What better way to earn your living. But careful! Accidents can be very costly.
Let’s first look at the general problem. It’s great that at last adventure professionals can get qualified to work legally in South Africa under AQN’s Generic Adventure Site Guide (GASG) skills programme and assessments. But what about new, uusual, or unregistered adventure activities? You don’t have to leap from skyscraper to skyscraper to be doing something the officials have never heard of. But out there are the experts who established whatever new activity is involved, who have taken their falls and been around the block a few times. These are the Subject Matter Experts (SME), or we hope they are, and it’s on them that would-be guides would have to rely for training.
That raises another problem. The guide may become an expert in his or her own right – but is it safe to induct tourists into truly innovative experiences? Adventure has been defined as “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks”. There’s a good article about this in Wikipedia which sets out to explain adventure education programming. It’s said to be a challenge involving possible harm and uncertainty: in other words, you can Continue reading Adventure tours and negligence