Welcome to Adventure Tourism with SATSA, where the untamed beauty of Southern Africa meets endless opportunities for exploration and growth. The global adventure tourism market is a thriving $1,169.09 billion industry, and South Africa's rich assets, climate, and adventure experiences make it a strong player in this exciting field.
For the past decade, SATSA has been advocating Adventure Tourism, culminating in the formation of the SATSA Adventure Chapter in 2020. Recognising the potential in well-organized and safe experiences, we're taking formal steps, including a self-regulatory project, a database of credible experiences, and a coordinated community of stakeholders. Voluntary self-accreditation, based on industry feedback, will boost confidence in the region’s adventure tourism sector. SATSA aims to make our offerings competitive, safe, and marketable to travellers, opening doors to new products and non-traditional itineraries.
To find out more about our current work, please continue reading below and don’t miss 101 Adventures where we showcase the best of the best adventure activities.
Why Adventure Tourism
According to Allied Market Research, the global adventure tourism market is estimated to generate $1,169.09 billion by 2028. There is widespread acknowledgement that this market segment is resilient to natural and political setbacks, attracts high-value visitors and is aligned with sustainable practices.
For a country like South Africa where post-pandemic national imperatives include transformation in rural areas, job creation, geographic spread and the development of sustainable tourism products, adventure tourism offers a strong growth opportunity, not least because of its rich assets, excellent climate, and the already extensive array of adventure experiences on offer.
The key challenges facing our adventure tourism sector, based on research conducted before the pandemic, include vulnerability concerning unscrupulous operators, safety and reliability issues, and a largely fragmented and uncoordinated industry that is under-represented in tourism markets and lacks a cohesive marketing effort.
Developing a Credible, Safe Adventure Tourism Industry
Our rich potential can only be leveraged if these experiences are well organised and safe, hence the need for a more formal approach:
- A self-regulatory environment.
- A database of credible adventure experiences.
- A coordinated community of adventure tourism stakeholders.
Based on industry feedback, SATSA is developing a voluntary and dynamic self-accreditation process that will elevate the profile and operations of this sector and provide the public and private sectors with the confidence that South Africa’s adventure tourism experiences are safe, and competitive, and can be confidently marketed to travellers.
In addition to the job creation opportunities and achieving a coordinated industry with a cohesive marketing effort, the spin-off to this will be the development of new adventure tourism products in areas not traditionally included in traditional itineraries.
Benefits and Outcomes of Self-Regulation
- Avoid potential costly, delayed, and irrelevant government regulation.
- Raise the standards of adventure tourism.
- Create a safe, accredited, and verified adventure tourism industry.
- Market-ready adventure tourism products that can be marketed by South African Tourism, Provincial and Local Tourism Authorities, and the private sector.
- Transformation through the provision of technical and training assistance to new and emerging black-owned adventure tourism operators.
- Improved market access by developing adventure products with a comparative advantage internationally.
- Increased demand by attracting more adventure tourists to South Africa.
- Increased turnover and profit for adventure tourism products. Development of new adventure tourism products, many in non-traditional tourism areas as demand increases.
- Increased employment with the growth in existing adventure tourism products and the development of new adventure tourism products.
101 Adventures - A Database of Credible Adventure Experiences
To view all the wonderful 101 Adventure-compliant products, visit 101 Adventures South Africa.
Adventure Industry Forms / Plans / Toolkits
SATSA’s Adventure Chapter Committee produced initial draft documents which were open for industry input until 31 May 2023. Published documents are indicated below. New documents will be added as and when produced and will follow a similar public comment process - also indicated below.
We are reliant on the Adventure Industry and all Stakeholders, whether a member of SATSA or not, to provide input and ensure that the self-regulation plan is relevant, will benefit the industry and is designed to meet the desired outcomes. As such we welcome continued feedback on the published documents which will be reviewed regularly.
To provide your valuable input, submit your comments indicating the below to Hannelie@satsa.co.za.
- Name of the document
- Page number and section
- Current wording
- Suggested wording
1. Roadmap (AT001) Published
The Adventure Tourism Self-Regulation Roadmap sets out the structure and desired outcomes of the project.
2. General Code of Good Practice (CoGP) Guide (AT002) Published
The General Code of Good Practice Guide provides compliance information and assistance in completing the CoGP Checklist.
3. General Code of Good Practice (GoGP) Checklist (AT003) Published
The General Code of Good Practice Checklist was designed as a simple self-evaluation document to indicate compliance with the most generic aspects of any adventure tourism activity.
4. Adventure Industry Toolkits
To support the CoGP Checklist, we are in the process of developing toolkits to explain and expand on the various topics. These will be published here for public comment and will include, amongst others:
- Standard Operating Procedures (AT004)
- Risk, Safety & Incident Management (AT005)
- Leadership & Guides (AT006)
- Participant Care (ATT007) Published
5. Category-Specific Code of Good Practice
Development of category-specific CoGPs is currently underway for the below-listed categories. This will take into consideration the common requirements of all activities within a category. Further categories will be added regularly.
- Wheels-Based Activities
- Boat-Based Activities
- Paddling / Rafting / SUPs
- Aerial Non-Flight
6. Individual Activity Standards
Once category-specific codes are developed, each activity will develop standards that are unique to the activity, bearing in mind that all requirements of the General and Category-specific CoGPs are already in place.
We thank you in advance for the time investment and commitment to ensuring that Southern Africa’s Adventure industry can be positioned as world-class.
Why and How to Collaborate with SATSA’s Adventure Chapter
Join our mission to unlock Southern Africa's potential as a leading adventure destination. With SATSA, you're not just exploring the wild; you are part of a movement that builds integrity and excellence, embracing challenges to shape the future of tourism.
Inform a self-regulatory framework for South Africa’s adventure tourism industry:
- Establish minimum operating criteria.
- Communicate these as minimum standards – a stamp of credibility.
- Develop individual regulation modalities for safety and operational standards.
- Skills development and training requirements.
- Insurance, risk management, and legalities.
To ensure that this is a true industry-led initiative, SATSA is inviting all role-players, stakeholders, operators etc. to join hands with the Adventure Chapter to position our destination. Several options, from paid membership to free community and stakeholder registration, have been made available as follows:
1. Become a SATSA Member and join the Adventure Chapter
SATSA is inviting all adventure tourism operators to join the Adventure Chapter which already comprises over 150 businesses representing all provinces and adventure types. Chapter members will play a significant role in informing the self-regulatory framework devised by voluntary technical working groups and task teams, participating in a community to network and grow the country’s adventure tourism industry, and creating awareness of South Africa’s adventure tourism value proposition and credibility.
2. List your adventure tourism business for free as a Community Member
To become part of the adventure community, receive information on industry matters and contribute to positioning South Africa as a top Adventure Tourism destination, we have made available a free-of-charge registration to our adventure database.
This is available to any adventure-related business in South Africa. It does not include SATSA Membership and Adventure Chapter benefits and is free of charge.
To apply: Please click here.
3. Register as a Stakeholder, Industry Body, Association, etc.
We invite associations, legal specialists, educational institutions, and any relevant regulatory authorities to join hands with the Adventure Chapter as a Stakeholder and join the discussions and development of standards.
Click here to register.
Please note that this data is kept strictly confidential and individual information will not be shared with any party outside the direct employment of SATSA, of whom all employees have signed confidentiality agreements. Aggregates of this data will be used to lobby on behalf of the industry.
We have a window of opportunity to put adventure tourism on the map in South Africa and these are the first steps to achieving this. And so, the adventure begins…
Please feel free to contact any of the below Adventure Tourism Committee Members for further details:
- Andre du Toit (Chapter Chair): +27 824461697, email@example.com
- Mark Brown: +27 824533970, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Quintin Smith: +27 848705579, email@example.com
- Hannelie du Toit: +27 836003555, firstname.lastname@example.org