Do we need a register of overseas adventure firms?

By | Category: Travel rumblings
Kate Green MP

Kate Green MP

Yes says Kate Green MP. It would show whether firms complied with industry safety standards and were independently accredited or self-assessed.

Just before the Adventure Travel Show in London, the MP launched a 10 minute bill in the House of Commons. What prompted her? The suffering of a family in her constituency whose son died in 2006 while taking part in a diving expedition in Fiji. The son was electrocuted after touching a washing line which had been in contact with a live cable. She called her bill  “Adventure and Gap Year Activity Companies (Accreditation and Inspection) Bill.”

Quite frankly, this is not limited to adventure holiday providers. Any service provider would be affected so why pick on adventure holidays. If the son had died when the harness on a zip-line had broken may be it would be right to look at  these sorts of companies but a caravan park, a hotel, a campsite, a self-catering villa could all be affected by this sort of issue.

Since his death, a new set of voluntary guidelines – labelled BS 8848 – has been introduced but they cover all tour operators not just adventure tour providers. Did that come through in the MP’s speech? No.

The family has said that the new guidelines don’t go far enough as to many companies still just resort to self-assessment. That seems true and should be ended. A regulatory body should be able to provide something like a kite-mark but for every type of tour operator, not just adventure holiday companies.

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