Numbers who raft
The growing numbers of rafters around the world is hard to estimate. On the competitive side one can do a rough estimate by comparing the number of raft races held around the world 10 years ago and then again today. But what about all the commercial river trips happening all the time? The number of people taking part in this activity is staggering. Figures for this are a lot harder to come by. If you have numbers related to commercial rating please contact Steve Nomchong – Media and Marketing via our contact page
This sport has taken off in tourism because of its adventurous nature. The excitement that is enjoyed on the big fun rapids through to the mellow nature of floating down a river means this activity has a bit of everything for everyone.
The variety in what different rivers or sections of rivers offer is huge – where a Class 5 might be someone’s idea of fun, a Class 3 might be another’s limit – both enjoying the trip as much.
Half day trips to mega-multi day trips also provide a range for the public to either get a quick fix or to have a real expedition trip.
Rivers also give us access to areas where often no roads go. This adds to the feeling of “getting away from it all” that so many people seek. Other rivers flow through town and villages resulting in rafting being very accessible and done in people’s back yards!
Conservation and enjoying the outdoors
Rafting has an incredibly low impact on its surroundings due to the fact that the rafts are floating on water. As long as a strict rule of “everything in, everything out” is adhered to and stopping points are left as pristine as they were found, one would not know a raft has been there.
There have been a growing number of artificial white water courses being built in the world. These had previously been designed to only cater for slalom canoes, which was limiting in that one needed to be fairly competent to paddle down one of these courses. The realization has now come that these courses can be used for rafts as well and so anyone can get a chance to go down the course by getting in a raft with a trained guide! This has increased the uses and the sustainability of these courses as well as being an ideal way of bringing rafting to the people in the cities close to these venues. It’s also an ideal way for teams to train, for developing the rafting youth and less privileged and for making it easy to view for spectators. Although not as spectacular as the natural rivers, artificial courses can definitely find their place in the future of rafting.
Guide Training & Education
Much of the safety, tourism and conservation of rafting depends on the training of the guides and trip leaders. If they are poorly trained all these become more risky. The IRF’s push to have an internationally accepted training scheme is aimed at ensuring that high standards are maintained all around the world and that the public can be sure of the quality of the guides they are rafting with.
Don’t need to be a wealthy country to do it!
Many areas in the world have seen a good economic growth based on the introduction of rafting. The rafting industry itself generates much needed jobs as well as stimulates other industries like accommodation, restaurants, curios and other tourism activities.
High risk sport or not?
Although statistics show rafting as not being a high risk sport it is still seen as such. Obviously some rivers are more risky than others but on the whole, for the numbers that actually paddle rivers, the risk of death or injury are very low. Far higher chance of crashing the car or plane on the way there!