The Adventure Travel Trade Association Unveils Health and Safety Guidelines

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) unveiled health and safety guidelines for cycling, rafting and trekking, in partnership with the highly regarded Cleveland Clinic medical center.

A team of experts designed the guidelines using resources from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and individual governments, and were “informed and advised” by the Cleveland Clinic throughout the process, ATTA said.

“We have been listening to our community through think tanks and surveys, and consistently one of the most resounding needs was a global consensus on health and safety guidelines for adventure activities,” said Shannon Stowell, ATTA’s CEO. “With the support of leading businesses in our community we were able to make it happen.”

Guidelines for seven additional adventure activities will be created by the end of July, ATTA said.

The guidelines for cycling, rafting and trekking recommend that groups are kept “as low as reasonably possible.” Pre-arrival, participants will be asked to self-screen their physical condition and risk profiles. “By informing guests that if they have symptoms—however mild—or are in a household where someone has symptoms, they are advised to stay at home,” the guidelines said.

They also recommended striving “for physical and social distance at the beginning and at the end of tours, [and] always favoring open and well-ventilated spaces.”

Additionally, guests should “consider using face coverings when in situations of higher risk of transmission, such as transportation, close proximity instruction or assistance or during breaks,” according to the guidelines.

Trip operators should also provide “ample access to handwashing facilities and sanitizer.”

Cyclists should consider riding in a “staggered formation” and not “immediately next to another rider.”

They should also use face coverings “when physical distancing is not possible or during stretches of proximity.”

For rafting, distancing practices need not apply to family groups, but if a group comprises strangers, the guidelines suggested “reducing the exposure to risk by maintaining the same crews in boats throughout the trip.”

The “choice of craft should also be considered and adapted where possible,” the guidelines said. For example, the guidelines suggested “using two- or four-person boats rather than eight-person boats and keeping family groups together.”

Whenever a trip “involves more than one boat, each boat could be run as a ‘safety pod’ from start to finish (preparation, activity and completion of tour) to minimize exposure to other people,” according to the guidelines.

In terms of trekking, “how each individual moves about and mingles in a trek will greatly influence your group’s distancing practices [so] operators should promote the shared responsibility for distancing,” the guidelines said.

“These guidelines are a solid and consistent result of a global review from the industry and the dedicated and close collaboration of some of the best destinations and companies in the world. We are offering a set of meaningful and practical tools to enable adventure travel companies and destinations to come back well prepared,” said Gustavo Timo, Destination Development Director of ATTA.

ATTA and the Cleveland Clinic will offer a webinar on June 30 detailing the guidelines.

Companies contributing to ATTA safety recommendations included Switzerland Tourism, JTB Research & Consulting, G Adventures, REI Adventures, and Backroads.

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