Visit Wales Adventure Activity Assurance Scheme
Welcome to the Visit Wales Adventure Activity Assurance Scheme. This voluntary non-statutory scheme has been developed in partnership with the Wales Adventure Tourism Organisation (WATO) and is required for those adventure activity businesses who wish to be listed on VisitWales.com. It aims to provide Wales residents and visitors with a quick and easy way to select adventure and outdoor recreation activity providers and operators based on their ability to deliver safe and effective industry practice.
The scheme provides confidence that risk-managed, high-quality adventure activity and outdoor recreation provision is available across Wales and enables people to recognise adventure activity and outdoor recreation providers who offer:
- sustainable adventure and outdoor recreation activity tourism
- good practice and standards of safety and customer care.
The scheme has been developed for all businesses, both large and small, that provide adventure activities and outdoor recreation, as defined by WATO listed activities and wish to be listed on VisitWales.com. It offers two routes to becoming assured by Visit Wales: one that recognises a provider's current assurance status and; one that enables those providers without a current assured status, to become accredited (see Flow Chart to determine your route).
The information that follows should help you to determine your eligibility and choose the route that best reflects your current activity provision. We hope you find this information useful. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate in contacting us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A process that involves engagement with a third party who carries out an audit of your business, including safety management systems and an observation of an activity(s); provides feedback following the visit and acknowledges that adventure activity sector ‘good practice’’ has been demonstrated in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the associated Regulations.
WATO is a national forum established to link existing outdoor sector organisations in Wales' three National Park areas, with the aim of sharing ‘good practice’ across the outdoor sector in Wales.
WATO functions regionally through these groups:
WATO acknowledges adventure where the focus is on engaging with the natural environment in a physically challenging manner; where skill and an element of risk are central to the experience and the participant seeks to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the natural environment in a peaceful manner. WATO listed activities comprise of core ‘guided activities’ that fall within this adventure and outdoor recreation activity sector definition.
There are 10 standards of practice that have been developed to;
- support providers in their delivery of safe and effective practice
- support providers in meeting the expectations of Visit Wales for sustainable adventure activity tourism, and the adventure activity/outdoor recreation sector ‘good practice’’ requirements
- promote and assure quality of practice
- support providers in assuring and demonstrating the standard of ‘customer care’
- support providers and those who purchase services or use outdoor practitioners, to evaluate the standard of adventure activity tourism and outdoor recreation provision.
The benefits are dependent on the particular route you take to becoming accredited. We hope that the highlighted benefits inspire you to complete the process!
- If you and/or your business are currently accredited a UK adventure activity accreditation scheme, you are eligible to follow Route One i.e. complete the Self-certification form and submit it, together with emailing evidence of your current accredited status. There is no cost to this.
- If you and/or your business are currently accredited by a National Governing Body (NGB), Awarding Body (AB) or Training Organisation (TO) Accreditation scheme, you will also be able to follow Route One and self-certify with the Visit Wales scheme.
- A listing on VisitWales.com for a period of 3 years, after which you will be required to renew the process
- Business visibility – to highlight the expectations of sustainable adventure activity tourism, and the outdoor sector ‘good practice’ requirements to those who purchase services or use outdoor practitioners
- Consumer confidence – assurance and demonstration of good standards of customer care
- If you and/or your business are not accredited by one of the examples above, you will need to follow Route Two of the Visit Wales Adventure Activity Accreditation Scheme, for which there is a fee. (see Flow Chart and nominated Technical Consultants for details).
- As for Route One, plus
- Meaningful consultation with a Visit Wales nominated Technical Consultant
- A report that highlights your business strengths as well as opportunities for business developments
- Confirmation of how your provision relates to adventure activity sector ‘good practice’
- Top tips and handy hints
- Access to sound up-to-date advice and guidance relating to your business and sector ‘good practice’
- Signposting to further business advice and support
Good practice within the adventure and outdoor recreation activity sector includes regular engagement with a technical advisor/consultant to support the provider’s assessment of risks, identification of the safety measures needed with management arrangements to give effect to these measures, and a sound knowledge of hazards and accepted ‘good practice’ as to what is reasonably practicable to ensure the safety of participants.
Visit Wales and WATO have identified seven Technical Consultants within Wales to fulfil the schemes consultation requirements. They will carry out a consultation, in line with the Visit Wales Standards of Practice and submit a report, as required by Visit Wales. The cost of engaging with a Technical Consultant is £275 plus expenses.
- I already have qualifications (e.g Mountain Leader Summer, Paddlesport Instructor) and I'm insured so why do I need to engage with a Technical Consultant?
- None of the Technical Consultants specialise in my activity - what do I do now?
- How much does it cost?
- Find the answers and more here!
Nia Lloyd Knott - 'Wild Trails Wales'
I had been wanting to take our business through the Visit Wales Assurance process for some time; as a company providing adventure activities for visitors to Wales it felt important to have this stamp of approval and to know we were operating to a nationally recognised standard………read more!
If, having checked through all the information provided, you have identified that you and/or your business are eligible to continue with Route One, please complete the adventure activity provider self-certification form. You will be required to list all the activities you provide as well as evidence of your current accredited/assured status. Only activities covered by your current accredited/assured status will be listed. There is no cost to you for this.
NB. In completing and submitting your self-certification form, you will be agreeing to meet the Visit Wales Standards of Practice.
If, having checked through all the information provided you have identified that you and/or your businesses are NOT eligible to continue at this stage with Route One, please proceed to Route Two. This involves contacting one of the Visit Wales nominated Technical Consultants to arrange a consultation. There is a cost of £275 plus travel expenses for this, which is paid directly to the technical consultant.
The technical consultant will outline the process and requirements of the consultation. This will include:
- An audit of your business
- An observation of an activity(s)
- An acknowledgment that the Visit Wales Standards of Practice have been met
- Feedback following the visit
Evidence of the above will be provided to you in the form of a report that will also be sent to the Senior Technical Consultant for verification. Once verified, the report will be sent to you and forwarded to Visit Wales.
Once your consultation is successfully completed and you are in receipt of your report, verified by the Senior Technical Consultant, please complete the adventure activity provider self-certification form. You will be required to list all the activities you provide (as detailed in your verified report). This enables us to complete the application process.
Once your application has been accepted and added to the database, we will provide you with certification of Visit Wales Adventure Activity Assurance and will forward your details to the Visit Wales Data Steward who will email you with login details for you to be able to upload your details to your product listing on VisitWales.com . It is your responsibility for maintaining your details on the product listing.
Should you wish to add any activities to your product listing which are not listed on your certificate contact email@example.com who will seek clarity from the nominated technical consultants as to the next steps. The product listing lasts for 3 years (as indicated on your certificate), after which you will be notified by Visit Wales to repeat the process.
We look forward to sharing your business details with Wales’ residents and visitors, in the knowledge and confidence that risk-managed, high-quality adventure and outdoor recreation activity provision is available across Wales.