Adventure Industry Association Conference – Feedback report
The chairman, Johan van Biljon, and the Vice Chair, Sam Wenger, attended the day’s proceedings of the Adventure Industry Association (SAAIA) 4 days conference on the third day, Wednesday, 26 July 2023. Our general and specific interest to attend on that day was to get to know their association a little bit and to hear what their take is on the subject of professionalizing their sector of the tourism industry.
A number of hour-long sessions covered various topics by different presenters on that day:
· Adventure Industry news and developments, direction on professionalization
· A model for integrating adventure education at elementary school syllabus
· Leadership and change; transformation within the adventure industry
· Guest speaker Saray Khumalo, she was the first African woman to summit Mount Everest
· Alles Magazine Editor: common shortfalls of product quality and innovation in product delivery, with the focus on some school tours shortcomings
· Demonstrations and Exhibitions
· Partnering with credible industry institutions (Academic)
We anticipated finding a mixed crowd of various individuals and adventure business owners, trainers, and adventure guides.
The day’s attendees’ number was around 30. Most of them with a background of being on the payroll of an educational institution, namely a private school or higher education establishment, adventure services provider, or adventure-related organization.
The two tourist guide badges of the two of us were the only ones to be seen in the crowd of delegates.
On that day, there was no discernable buy-in from any adventure guide, most probably because there was nothing in the day’s agenda topics of specific interest for an adventure tourist guide to have him/her spend R 800 for the day.
Our objective to hear what their efforts in the direction of professionalization are, was adequately achieved. Furthermore, our attendance yielded a few new contacts to follow up. Then there is always the exposure element to other tourism stakeholders that is important.
It looks like we need not be alarmed about anything negative coming from their quarters, that could interfere with our going forward with the professionalization efforts.