Adventure tourism ISO Standards in development

Issue 50 – June 2013

Trekking, mountaineering, biking, and rafting can be exhilarating experiences that stay with you forever, but they are also potentially dangerous. As adventure tourism grows in popularity, safety is becoming a key issue. ISO is developing two Standards to keep risk at bay and enjoyment high.

  • ISO 21101 Adventure tourism – Safety management systems – Requirements. ISO 21101 provides requirements for safety management systems for adventure tourism providers, encouraging them to review the activities they offer, understand participants' requirements, define safety processes, and keep these under control. The Standard can be used to define a safety policy, objectives and plans, as well as set procedures for risk management, personnel competencies, operational controls, and emergency preparedness
  • ISO 21103 Adventure tourism – Information to participants – Minimum requirements before, during and after the adventure tourism activity. ISO 21103 specifies the type of information to be provided to potential participants and other interested parties in the adventure tourism industry, with regard to contractual aspects.

A technical report, Leaders – Personnel competence, is also in progress.

All these documents are expected to be published by 2014. Together, these Standards will combine to bring greater safety, competitiveness, and reliability to adventure tourism worldwide, especially in destinations that need to take sizeable steps to improve their services.

New Zealand provides input into ISO's adventure tourism Standards

The former Department of Labour (Policy and Research Group), now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE, Labour Group), contracted Standards New Zealand to facilitate New Zealand's participation in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) activities for adventure tourism over 3 years from 2011.

With MBIE's funding support, Standards New Zealand formed a New Zealand International Review Group (NZ IRG) in April 2011 to enable balanced, expert, and representative stakeholder input to ISO Standards on adventure tourism. Standards New Zealand facilitates this input, and a representative from the NZ IRG attends meetings of the ISO/TC 228 working group (WG7) that is developing adventure tourism Standards.

Membership of the NZ IRG consists of representatives nominated by the following organisations.

  • Aviation Tourism and Travel Training Organisation (ATTTO)
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Maritime New Zealand
  • NZ Mountain Safety Council
  • NZ Outdoor Instructors Association
  • NZ Society for Risk Management
  • Outdoors New Zealand
  • Skills Active
  • Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand

Comments from New Zealand and other member countries on the ISO draft Standards have recently been reviewed at the WG7 meeting in Portugal in May 2013. Garth Gulley, who is nominated by Outdoors New Zealand, and Mary Beth Cook, nominated by the NZ Society for Risk Management, have been representing the NZ IRG's views at WG7 meetings.

Note: You can order ISO Standards from or call 0800 782 632 during business hours or email Members of Standards New Zealand receive a 20% discount on all NZS and AS/NZS Standards, and a 10% discount on all international Standards. Visit our membership page for more information.


Published in consumer and occupational safety.