Adventure Travel Guide Qualifications & Performance Standard – III. Definitions
Adventure travel is a type of tourism, involving exploration or travel with perceived (and possibly actual) risk, and potentially requiring specialized skills and physical exertion. Adventure tourism has grown in recent decades, as tourists seek different kinds of vacations, but measurement of market size and growth is hampered by the lack of a clear operational definition. According to the U.S. based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity, including two of the following three components: a physical activity, a cultural exchange or interaction and engagement with nature.
Adventure Travel Guide
A guide with a general knowledge of a variety of skill competencies (i.e. interpretive, medical and sustainability) required to facilitate a group of clients through a range of terrains, environments and locales in a safe, manageable and respectable manner.
Guides work for adventure tourism companies, resorts, parks, lodges or campgrounds, or they operate their own small businesses. They facilitate the opportunity to experience a diverse range of activities, depending on the season and on their skills. An adventure travel guide must have a tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. They should possess a strong sense of self-awareness and be able to exercise sound judgment and decision making. An adventure travel guide is highly flexible and has strong communication skills (sometimes involving multiple languages).
Key differences between an Adventure Travel Guide and an Adventure Activity Provider include the Guide’s need to have equal attention to technical, medical, customer service, content delivery, and sustainability competencies, versus the activity provider’s main requirement is a mastery in technical competency.
Abbreviation for advanced life support.
A tourism experience, which provides a genuine perspective and interaction with natural and cultural locations and contexts. Clients may also derive a sense of personal authenticity through their experiences.
In this standard, the term ‘competency’ is used to refer to combination of knowledge, skill, behavior, personal traits, and motives of the individual. The ISO Adventure Travel Safety standard defines competency as follows: “The ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve expected results (results of performed activities in provision of service).”
CPR is the abbreviation for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An emergency procedure consisting of external cardiac massage and artificial respiration; the first treatment for a person who has collapsed and has no pulse and has stopped breathing; attempts to restore circulation of the blood and prevent death or brain damage due to lack of oxygen. This may happen after an electric shock, heart attack, or drowning. CPR combines rescue breathing and chest compressions.
The holder of a medical certification is able to competently complete and administer care to a patient, usually by passing an examination and/or completing an approved emergency care medical study program.
Some professional certifications also require that one obtain work experience in a related field before the certification can be awarded. Some professional certifications are valid for a lifetime upon completing all certification requirements. Others expire after a certain period of time and must be maintained with further education and/or testing.
Certifications can differ within a profession by the level or specific area of expertise to which they refer. For example, in the field of Wilderness Medicine, there are different certifications available for Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness EMT and Wilderness Paramedic.
Cultural history combines the approaches of anthropology and history in examining popular cultural traditions and cultural interpretations of historical experience. It examines the records and narrative descriptions of past knowledge, customs, and arts of a group of people.
Customer service is the integration of a guide’s technical and social skills in such a manner each customer feels recognized andacknowledged in his/her personal needs.
Completed therapy; end point at which all treatment required at the time has occurred. The completion of recommended treatment.
Duty to act
Duty to act refers to duty of a party to take necessary action to prevent harm to another party or the general public.
An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment (things like air, water and mineral soil), interacting as a system.
Ecology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and their interactions with their environment. It also deals with the growth of populations and species in an ecosystem and when/how resources in that ecosystem are used by organisms within it.
Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between peoples and plants.
Folklore is the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth. A body of popular myths or beliefs relating to a particular place, activity, or group of people.
The process by which a guide provides a safe and high quality experience, supporting a range of client motivations, interests and skill levels. The art of providing individualized experience for all within a group.
ICRC/International Red Cross: The International Committee of the Red Cross is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also seeks to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.
Indigenous people are genetically, historically, and culturally from or linked to the original or first nations of the land before colonization. They normally preserve a degree of cultural and political separation from the mainstream culture and political system of the nation state within the border of which the indigenous group is located.
“Interpretation is a mission-based communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the meanings inherent in the resource.”
—The National Association for Interpretation 3
“Interpretation enriches our lives through engaging emotions, enhancing experiences and deepening understanding of people, places, events and objects from past and present.”
—The Association for Heritage Interpretation 4
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental membership organization and the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards.
The planned regulations for carrying out a patient’s treatment regimen or dealing with any type of medical emergency formality, precedence, and etiquette as defined by a general consensus of medical specialists ie; WMS.
Natural history is the research and study of organisms including plants or animals in their environment. Natural history is the systematic study of any category of natural objects or organisms.
Situated at a one hour distance or more away from ALS, advance medical care or definitive care.
Standard First Aid
Standard First Aid incorporates all of Emergency First Aid and is designed for those who require a more in-depth understanding of first aid including: legal implications of first aid treatment, spinal injuries, heat or cold injuries, bone and joint injuries, chest injuries, and medical emergencies. Includes CPR-C certification.
Sustainability is the endurance of natural and cultural systems and processes. The organizing principle for sustainability is sustainable development, which includes the four interconnected domains: ecology, economics, politics and culture. From a sustainable tourism business perspective sustainability can be thought of as a balance of ‘people, planet, profit.’
Personal experience and capabilities to execute the technical skills.
A set of competencies necessary to guide a group safely through varying areas and climates. These competencies must be trained and assessed by certified professionals.
A succinct, central message about a topic of interest that a guide wants to communicate to their audience.
In the thematic approach, a guide relies on a central theme (i.e., a major point or message) to guide the process of communication. The guide develops the theme in such a way that it will be highly relevant to an audience.
See Theme above.
Tour Leaders ensure that a tour runs smoothly. Tour leaders are often chosen for their travel experience and interpersonal skills. They should be thoroughly trained and eager to educate people on a variety of natural and cultural skills. Basic duties of a tour leader include providing comprehensive briefings at the start and throughout the tour, and ensuring that health and safety best practices are followed. A tour leader position can be filled by a professional guide, however, these roles are not interchangeable.
Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician:
(WEMT) is the second highest level of wilderness emergency medical training available in the USA and abroad, second to Wilderness Advanced Life Support (WALS) or other courses for advanced providers such as AWLS (Advanced Wilderness Life Support), WUMP (Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals), WMPP (Wilderness Medicine for Professional Practitioner), and RMAP (Remote Medicine for Advanced Providers). In addition to an urban EMT-Basic course, WEMT places a greater emphasis on long-term patient care in the backcountry where conventional hospital care can take days to reach. Some of the main providers of Wilderness EMT training in the United States include SOLO, the Wilderness Medicine Institute at (National Outdoor Leadership School), Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA), Aerie Backcountry Medicine, Center for Wilderness Safety, and Remote Medical International.
Wilderness First Aid
(WFA) is the specific discipline of First aid which relates to care in remote areas, where emergency medical services will be difficult to obtain or will take a long time to arrive.
Wilderness First Responder
A Wilderness First Responder (72-80 hour course) certification is both a higher certification than a Wilderness First Aid (16-20 hour course) certification, and may also be used to upgrade an Emergency Medical Technician to a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician. Outdoor Emergency Careis a National Ski Patrol certification, but it doesn’t fully meet the requirements for a WFR certification.
Wilderness medicine encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of injuries and medical conditions that may occur during activities in remote territories.
It is also defined as a medical emergency which takes place in a wilderness or remote setting which is at least 60 minutes away from definitive care (hospital, clinic, etc.) and present unique challenges that may require specialized skills, treatment techniques, and knowledge in order to manage the patient for an extended period of time before being evacuated.
Activities that may require wilderness medicine include but are not limited to backpacking, cross-country skiing, mountaineering, white water rafting, scuba diving, and exploration in undeveloped regions such as deserts or jungles. Wilderness medicine has evolved to deal with situations in which definitive medical care is hours or days away, and in which patients may require quick or extended attention. Wilderness medicine utilizes first aid techniques, but requires additional skills that take into account demanding environments, uncommon threats to health, hazardous or lengthy travel to medical facilities, and difficulties in obtaining food, water, and shelter.
Wilderness Medical Society
A society dedicated to the enriching and advancement in addition to management of wilderness medical practices of The Wilderness Medical Society was created on 15 February 1983 by three physicians from California, United States — Dr. Paul Auerbach, Dr. Ed Geehr, and Dr. Ken Kizer. It provides advice and guidance to medical personnel working in wilderness or backcountry environments. It also publishes Wilderness & Environmental Medicine Journal, Wilderness Medicine Magazine, and Practice Guidelines for Wilderness Emergency Care.
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What is an Adventure Travel Guide?
A professional who leads adventure tourism excursions is known as an adventure travel guide. In general, these tour guides differ from traditional tour guides who lead tourists through museums or organize bus tours. He frequently leads and participates in outdoor adventure tours and other types of physical activity, for example. Golf tours and other relatively stress-free activities are examples, as are daring adventures for thrill seekers. The riskier activities usually necessitate special training for the guide to handle medical emergencies and other potential complications; these training programs can vary depending on his or her specific interests.
Eco-tours and other outdoor adventure tours are common activities that an adventure travel guide might lead. Jungles and rainforests are two of the most popular eco-tourist destinations. Another common example of a popular adventure tourism activity is an African safari.
An adventure travel guide is likely to be hired someone looking for an active vacation, whether land, sea, or air. On land, there are a plethora of recreational opportunities. Mountain hiking, trail walking, biking, and horseback riding are all activities that some people enjoy. Many adventure travelers enjoy visiting ruins or exploring caves, as well as fishing, hunting, and rock climbing. The guide may lead skiing and snowboarding excursions in mountainous areas.
Water sports enthusiasts can also book trips with adventure travel guides. Sailing or whale-watching trips are popular activities for those seeking a more relaxing vacation, while rafting and kayaking on lakes and rivers are popular activities that require more physical participation. Surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling are all popular ocean activities.
An adventure travel guide may be able to arrange a variety of air activities for you. Skydiving and hang gliding are two popular thrill-seeking activities. Others may enjoy helicopter rides and tours, as well as exploring an area from the comfort of a hot air balloon.
An adventure travel guide’s general responsibilities typically include knowledge of general health and safety concerns, as well as first aid treatments and the proper handling of medical emergencies. Certain activities necessitate specialized training and certification. Mountain guides, for example, must be certified in several countries before leading certain types of trips.
Individuals interested in becoming adventure travel guides can gain experience traveling independently or enrolling in a formal outdoor skills program like Outward Bound. Many jobs are summer or seasonal, and those who want to succeed must be willing to travel extensively, or at the very least relocate to an area with plenty of outdoor activities. The jobs are mostly suitable for students or others looking for temporary or seasonal work while they are not in school or employed elsewhere.
What Is an Adventure Tour Guide?
An adventure tour guide is a trained person hired to guide travelers through designated areas while on adventure vacations. These guides may work independently or as part of a tour guide company. The job of an adventure tour guide entails working with small groups of like-minded travelers. Group tours may be scheduled for singles, couples, or families.
In general, tour guides can be hired for a variety of vacations that require the services of a professionally trained guide. An adventure tour may take place in the air, on land or sea. One example of a land tour would be a safari wildlife photography shoot on the Kalahari Desert. By air, breathtaking skydiving adventures might qualify as an adventure tour. Tours at sea could include scuba diving in underwater caves or exploring sunken ships.
Adventure tour guides provide excursions on multiple continents and in numerous countries. Some of the tours specialize in different adventure activities such as hiking, biking, and walking. Tours can also be booked to include a variety of adventures from white-water rafting and kayaking to walking tours of the Serengeti.
Guides have the responsibility of setting up an itinerary for the tour and arranging accommodations, transportation, and dining locations for extended trips. For outdoor adventures, guides take care of providing equipment, provisions for meals, and equipment safety. Adventure guides stay at the same location as guests to take care of any issues and keep the group on schedule.
Transportation varies depending on the specifics of each tour. The tour guide and guests are often transported by van or minibus to the designated location. A trailer may be used to transport bicycles, camping gear, or related equipment when applicable.
A seasoned and experienced adventure guide is well versed in the tour’s activity and the history of the location. The guide should be aware of little known places off the beaten track to add to the excitement of the adventure, as well as frequently visited tourist attractions. A prime responsibility of an adventure tour guide is to ensure guests have a memorable vacation.
Qualifications for becoming an adventure tour guide include superior people skills, the ability to multi-task, and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment. Guides must be physically in shape in order to handle long days and physical activity in a variety of environments. CPR and emergency response certification is also required for reputable adventure tour guides.
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My husband and I want to try doing some adventure travel, but we are not really the camping, or get dirty kind of people. Is there an option for luxury adventure travel?
I’ve heard that their are adventure cruises and it is really doing more risky things in a safe environment. I think that something like that might be more up our alley. We have kids now, so I don’t think it would be good if we died in a freak bungee accident or something. We’ll definitely be getting a babysitter for them when we go off on our trip. Any adventure travel trips for those more timid at heart would be much appreciated.
We enjoy things like scuba diving, and skiing, as well as things like helicopter tours of famous places.
@lonelygod – If you want to do some adventure travel in Death Valley I would suggest checking out some of the adventure tour operators based out of Las Vegas. There are also some great resources online.
When we were in Nevada we managed to book a really good Death Valley bike and hike tour through Black Sheep Adventures that was a really good deal. We just did a day trip, and I honestly don’t remember if they do longer tours or not.
If you are looking for more adventure travel tips though, I would go to some of the travel forums for the USA and read some entries on the places you want to go. I am sure you’ll find something that suits you. lonelygod November 17, 2011
Can anyone recommend how to find a good adventure tour company that can arrange adventure travel tours in places like Death Valley and the Grand Canyon?
My friend and I would like to start trying some outdoor adventure travel here in the US and want to find a quality tour company to work with. We’ve only done adventure tours and vacations abroad before, so we are imaging that adventure tours in the USA will be a lot easier, but no matter what, word of mouth recommendations are always best. We want a tour company that focuses on good budget travel and offers day trips, as well as longer vacations.