Were you or someone you know on an organized hike where someone died and/or was emergency evacuated to a hospital due to exertional heat stroke and/or dehydration?
We encourage you to share your story for possible publication on this website.
We Need to Create Smart Itineraries and Smart Guides
I am a firm believer that challenging people and allowing them to see the adventurous side of Israel is a fantastic way for them to experience Israel and develop a deep connection to the land. Without the option for some challenge in our tours, they become run-of-the-mill and strip the tourists of the chance to gain an amazing experience. The heavy regulations force everyone to do the same “cookie-cutter” trip which often means a much less connective and formative experience. There is an inherent risk in everything that a tourist does once they step onto their flight to Israel. We can only mitigate these risks by building safety and common sense into the core of every element of our itineraries. But we cannot nix anything that involves challenge, and challenge comes with its inherent risk, just like everything else; we just need to create smart itineraries and smart guides. What you are offering with Ariel’s Checklist is a pivotal move in the educational realm of tours and should be distributed and preached to the tour operators as well as the guides.
In my experience, I have seen many worrisome choices made by the management and guides of tour companies. Group tours are big business and many vendors work hard to get the bid on these tours. Such tours can be lucrative and because of the large-scale numbers, the potential for future business growth is substantial and desired. This creates a dangerous dilemma whereby tour guides and operators may be tempted to overlook safety concerns when building and implementing their tours. I have seen adventure companies refuse to suggest a cancellation of a trip despite the alarmingly hot weather. Many providers will acquiesce to push their group into an adventure despite the fact that their clients are pathetically under-equipped and inexperienced. The mindset is often “It will be fine…” or “we have done this so many times before.” I have even heard guides say “that is what insurance is for” when replying to a suggestion that they should avoid a risky trip choice. This absurd reality is driven by providers who are focused on their pockets more than their clients’ overall experience and safety. There are many excellent providers that do everything in their ability to create and implement safe yet challenging tours, and still there is an assumed risk. The tourism industry must educate the providers so that they can make the safest reasonable choices for their clients and at the same time enact legal consequences that will prevent reckless providers from operating in an unsafe manner.
Shared March 1, 2017 by Ariel Fishman
Neve Michael, Israel