SA AIA - an adventure collective.
SA AIA represents two distinct sectors within its membership: Individuals – students and those who are qualified and who operate within the Adventure Based Learning (ABL), as well as the Adventure Tour guiding industry – and businesses – that provide training, products, and services within the ABL and Adventure Tour guiding industries. As such, it facilitates bringing together two of the main entities that play a role in developing regulatory frameworks namely individuals and businesses.
SA AIA is a member driven professional body for the Adventure Based Learning Industry and the Adventure Tour Guide industry. Our mission is to collaborate with likeminded individuals and organizations to unlock the economic, human, and environmental potential of the Southern African Adventure Industry through a process of professionalization.
Our aim is to serve as the impartial, autonomous representative of its various stakeholders in matters related to Adventure Based Learning and Adventure Tour guiding. We aim to offer student registration categories that enable those still studying towards a qualification in the adventure field to join and receive specific benefits that include training, development, and networking opportunities.
Using a SA AIA member provides peace of mind for those who seek to do business with credible ABL, tourism and training partners. Members undergo a strict registration process and are required to sign and agree to abide by a Code of Conduct.
The SAAIA website houses valuable sources of information should the public wish to do research related to specific adventure related occupations; lists of practitioners / organisations in the field; and allows the public to identify individuals to contact for further conversations about their possible career.
The SA AIA strives to achieve the following goals:
- Collaborate with industry professionals to develop and implement South African adventure standards as world class benchmarks.
Support human and community development.
Promote the responsible and sustainable utilization of natural, human, and cultural resources.
Liaise with all role players in the outdoor and adventure industry for the following processes:
National and international promotion and marketing.
Lobbying with various relevant Governmental Departments at local, provincial, and national level.
Promote transformation and skills transfer to young South Africans to create young entrepreneurs and job opportunities.
To unlock the economic, human and environmental potential of the Southern African Adventure Industry through a process of professionalisation.
When a young learner from Park Town Boys’ High tragically drowned at an adventure camp in the Northwest Province, the lack of an umbrella body for the outdoor and adventure industry was suddenly revealed. This event, like so many other adventure accidents, was exacerbated in the media. Suddenly a chaotic outrage broke loose in the media and the whole adventure industry came under scrutiny. While the adventure industry was being torn to pieces in all media forms, we did not have a unified voice.
Stakeholders were waiting for associations, organisations, government departments (education, sport, tourism, and social development) – anybody for that matter – to stand up and say something to defend this important industry. Sadly, nobody did.
The sad reality is that these accidents, although rare, happen on a regular basis, but the public and media are not always aware of it. This one incident, which became public, led to an outrage under the general population.
Three people with the same vision – Dewald Venter (national adventure, culture and nature guide, and adventure leadership lecturer), Francois Nel (from the outdoor retail industry), and Pieter Snyman (adventure experiential learning expert, and adventure lecturer) – initiated the first steps to get key role players together to draft a press release to defend the industry. After this, a WhatsApp group with three administrators was established and within one day the group already had 75 members, all of which share the same vision.
A meeting was held on 21 January 2020 to draft a press release by 25 January. This would be sent to thousands of schools, newspapers, and radio and television stations. It would also be shared on the SAAIA WhatsApp group, to get the message out as far and wide as possible.
During this meeting it became apparent that an umbrella body was necessary. It was decided that such a body should not only focus on individual outdoor and adventure operators, guides, or businesses, but rather on clusters such as associations, organisations, and other bodies. It should assist and guide the larger outdoor and adventure industry in establishing smaller bodies which form part of the umbrella body’s structure, development, and managerial functions.
The first meeting with representatives from several diverse adventure bodies was held on 21 February 2020. There it was agreed that we should proceed with the consultation and liaison process to create an umbrella body. However, the role of the umbrella body is not to prescribe to the various clusters how to do their business, it is to work together with more role players in the outdoor and adventure industry, like:
governmental departments, including: the National Departments of Tourism, Education, Sports, Arts and Culture; Social Development and Welfare; Environmental Affairs; etc.;
provincial governments of all nine provinces as well as local governments, e.g.: City of Cape Town; Tshwane; Tlokwe; etc.;
national and international associations such as ISO/SABS, SATSA, ASATA, TBCSA, ATTA, etc. and its counterparts in other provinces and countries;
activity related associations e.g.: APA; WESSA; CCSA; ARA; SSI; NAUI; PADI; RAID; Sailing SA; 4X4 and Overlanding; etc.; and
to act as a catalyst in areas where there are no or little collaboration between individual service providers, e.g. mountain biking; adventure-based learning (ABL); etc.
Negotiations were still in progress when the COVID-19 lockdown crippled our initiatives and actions to promote SAAIA, including the formal registration of SAAIA as a non-profit organisation.