Under Covid-19: How Ireland’s adventure tourism will change

Tour sizes set to be cut, with participants bringing as much personal equipment as possible

The adventure activity tourism sector, which is worth at €1.2bn annually, will be told to introduce stringent new measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19 as they attempt to reopen.

Tour sizes look set to be reduced as operators will be asked to review the capacity for their activities in light of physical distancing guidelines.

* When they book, guests will receive a digital safety briefing that will explain how guests must behave around employees, guides, instructors and other guests at the activity location. “A digital briefing avoids the need to speak to people as a group at the location.”

* Before arriving, guests will be told to stay “well within their physical capabilities” and practice physical distancing during the activity. “The aim is to avoid injuries so extra demands aren’t placed on emergency and healthcare services.”


* Guests must be told to bring as much personal kit as possible – for example, water bottles, towels, wet suits, helmets and hand sanitiser. Activity providers will now have to confirm with the guest how much personal kit they are bringing.

* Guests will also be asked to arrive already changed for the activity.

There will also be new rules for transporting guests and equipment.

* If guests are transported in the activity provider’s own vehicle, physical distancing must take place within it.

* Windows will be kept open and guests will not be allowed to open or close doors. “The driver must be the only person who does this.”

* Before and after each trip door handles, the steering wheel, gear stick, fuel cap, radio and other vehicle controls will have to be cleaned. Guests will not be allowed to unload or load equipment.

* All equipment that has been stored since before the closure must undergo cleaning and disinfection including hard equipment like kayaks, kayak paddles, and safety equipment.

In terms of the activities themselves, employees will have to:

* Wash and sanitise their hands before and after safety checks of equipment such as when checking that a harness is secure on a guest before rock climbing.

* Providers will have to find out what sizes of wetsuits, helmets or boots guests will need before guests arrive. These will have to be laid out “at a safe distance” to allow for physical distancing.

* If an instructor has to come close to a person to check a harness or other safety equipment they must wear a face masks or visors, and the guest will have to wear these too.

For providers of tours using motorised water transport, they will have to:

* Consider providing life vests on the jetty to reduce handling.

* Provide hand sanitisation options just before guests board the vessel.

* Ensure all surfaces touched while the vessel is being boarded are cleaned frequently.

* Remove the option of the coffee and snack bar to ensure guests are not moving around unnecessarily and physical distancing can be adhered to.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times