Skift Take

Bungy jumping, scuba diving and paragliding may offer a lifetime of unmatched thrills, but are tour operators selling these thrills playing by the rulebook?

Series: India Travel Daily

The Skift India Newsletter is your go-to platform for all news related to travel, tourism, airlines, and hospitality in India.

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Aiming to be a top adventure tourism destination, the Indian tourism minister recently spoke about focusing on infrastructure development to boost this segment. However, India would need more than just infrastructure development. Quality standards, regulation and oversight would be needed for India to become a leading adventure tourism destination. Most guides, operators and instructors in the country fail to meet basic safety requirements as there are over 5,000 unregistered adventure tour operators in the country, said Vaibhav Kala, founder of New Delhi-based Aquaterra Adventures, told Skift. Highly specialized activities are operated by non-specialized operators due to lack of guidelines and limited skilling facilities. “We need a uniform nationwide regulatory system with ease of registration, training institutes and licensed guides to offer quality and safe experiences to tourists from around the world,” said Kala. Tourism in India lacks legislative backing and is therefore, a state subject. The Centre doesn’t have a mandate to enforce approved regulations and guidelines on the states. States like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal have all been working on adventure tourism standards and guidelines — but in total isolation. Pradeep Murthy, director of Kerala-based MuddyBoots Vacations, highlighted to Skift how several unregulated adventure bucket shops which provide low-quality equipment severely impact safety. “Many operators use plastic helmets for bungee jumping and white water rafting which are otherwise used for scaffolding work in construction,” he said. It’s important that consumers understand and find out if the right adventure equipment is being used — which should ideally be tested in proper laboratories and certified to international standards. “Operators would be forced to adopt regulatory practices