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Outdoor recreation instructors grow 66% in five years

Outdoor recreation instructors grow 66% in five years
June 4, 2014

A report by Service Skills Australia has revealed a 66% increase in the number of outdoor instructors between 2006 and 2011, including a boom in paddling, climbing and caving qualifications awarded.

Enrolments for outdoor recreation certificates II and III rose between 2011 and 2012, but an absence of funding for in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and the ACT was cited as barrier to growth for the sector.

The Government-funded 2014 Sport, Fitness & Recreation Environmental Scan collated both statistical and anecdotal data.

The report also cites a growing demand for more volunteer staff with first aid and specialist activity skills, and suggests participation in bushwalking increased by around six per cent between 2009 and 2012, though this remains down on 2005 figures.

In adventure tourism research has found that experience seekers make up 49% of visitors to Australia and that ‘nature’ was the number one experience that motivates visitors to come to Australia.

Together, these indicate that the provision of quality nature-based activities is a key drawcard for Australia’s significant tourism industry. Participation numbers in nature-based tourism have seen growth of 3% per annum among international visitors and large numbers, but little growth, among domestic visitors.

Despite the inherent risks involved in outdoor activities and industry advocacy for greater regulation of the sector, the report highlights an overall lack of standards and regulation. Subsequently, the industry has been developing State and Territory Adventure Activity Standards (AAS), which recognise the skills and knowledge that enable compliance with safety standards and encourage responsible environmental, cultural, and corporate management.

The report also highlight that outdoor education is valued for its ability to develop leadership and interpersonal skills, equip students with technical skills to undertake activities safely in the natural environment and to build an appreciation for the environment. This has been recognised in the first national curriculum, which will potentially increase the number of trained staff needed to deliver outdoor education nationally.

Click here to view Service Skills Australia's Outdoor Recreation Snap Shot.



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