New national standards to support Queensland’s adventure tourism sector

A new framework to cut red tape for outdoor adventure activities couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Queensland outdoors industry stands tall against a downturn caused by a summer of bushfires, flooding, and the impact of coronavirus.

Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said that new guidelines to help enhance operations will draw tourists to Queensland by ensuring that the iconic local outdoors industry is safer than ever.

“Whether you’re climbing the Glasshouse Mountains, horse riding in the Scenic Rim, or braving the rapids up north in Tully Gorge, you’ll be able to feel safe as you experience what Queensland has to offer,” said Mr de Brenni.

“Whether you’re after exhilaration and extreme action, or that unforgettable bucket list experience, Queensland’s outdoor activity sector offers the best the world has to offer, plus real benefits for health and wellbeing.

“Along with making the most of our great State, getting amongst it within a Queensland based outdoor adventure delivers much needed flow-on of economic benefits to out multi-billion dollar tourism industry and the workforce that relies on it.”

The new national framework was designed to create a clear set of rules nationwide, delivering streamlined business operations and avoidance of regulatory burden of small and medium sized business.

“This has been a four-year process to get all the states on board, so we have one true national framework for good practice, risk and safety management,” said Mr de Brenni.

“All providers of outdoor adventure activities should now use the guidelines to inform their safety management and activity practices so they are higher quality with reduced risk.”

The Australian Adventure Activity Standards (AAAS) and Good Practice Guides (GPGs) have been unveiled, uniting the outdoor industry under a common set of guidelines.

President of Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF) Allana Bold said a national set of standards is more efficient and effective than a state-by-state approach.

“We will be able to reduce red tape while improving safety outcomes,” said Mrs Bold.

“This is a great result for nature-based tourism, outdoor education and outdoor recreation groups and businesses, as well as participants themselves.

“QORF has made a significant contribution to the development of these standards and we feel they will greatly enhance the outdoor adventure sector which makes up such an integral part of the Queensland lifestyle and economy.”

More than 100 industry technical experts with extensive field experience in a wide range of outdoors and adventure activities volunteered their time to help create the guidelines.

The changes will help schools, community groups, not-for-profit organisations, tourism businesses, seniors groups and government agencies to deliver exhilarating experiences safely.

President of the Outdoor Council of Australia Andrew McGuckian said standards shouldn’t change just because you cross a border.

“This new national approach ensures everyone has clear guidance on how to achieve the highest safety standards and deliver the best possible experience for participants in outdoor activities across Australia,” said Mr McGuckian.

A steering committee consisting of representatives of all the state and territory peak outdoor recreation bodies was formed in 2015 to oversee the development of the AAAS.

The project was funded by the Meeting of the Sport and Recreation Ministers of Australia. (MSRM).

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