Being an Adventure Travel Guide is a fantastic job and a great challenge—guides can be an athlete, a diplomat, a teacher, a storyteller, a doctor, an environmentalist, and an entertainer, all at the same time. The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) has partnered with instructor Jean-Claude Razel to deliver courses to help elevate guides to new heights. Through observing meetings and briefings, fine-tuning safety reporting procedures, and practical experiences, learners are able to explore thematic interpretation to elevate their storytelling capabilities and better connect guests to the local communities and natural world.
These courses add to the growing portfolio of online learning available from ATTA. The 7-course track Safety & Risk Management takes adventure travel operators and managers through the complete process of setting up and running a safety management system in their operation, and the Adventure Travel Business Management 6-course track provides practical business management training specifically designed to address the unique needs of the adventure travel sector.
The ATTA’s legacy of education stems from Adventure Travel World Summits, AdventureEDU training events, and multi-day guide training held all around the world. Destinations such as Sweden, Chile, Jordan, and Japan have trained inbound operators and destination management companies on best practices that go beyond technical skills and marketing, diving into sustainability, group dynamics, and product innovation.
Q&A with Instructor Jean-Claude Razel
Jean-Claude has over 30 years’ experience in adventure activities and has always dedicated a lot of time to training adventure guides. Initially focused in mountaineering and climbing, Jean-Claude is now active in the whole chain of the adventure sector. His company Alaya, created in 1997, is the reference outdoor company in Brazil. Alaya's activities are certified in safety management according to ISO 21101. As a manager of the Brazilian National Rafting Team, Jean-Claude won 6 world championships. Very much concerned with sustainability, he made a point in certifying his company as a B Corporation: companies that are not the best in the world but the best FOR the world.
Why do you work with adventure travel?
I like nature and I like people. So taking people on the trip, getting to know people, and letting them learn about themselves. This is very satisfying for me.
What is your background in education?
I’ve always been fascinated by teaching techniques. I’ve always been involved in this. How you change the way you explain things in order to let people understand. Being part of the adventure world, doing this for guides makes total sense.
What do you think are the main challenges adventure travel guides face?
This is a big question! To be a guide, it’s the most incredible job in the world. You have to be a biologist, storyteller, cook, entertainer… you’re kind of a superman. The biggest challenge is to adapt and use the right tool at the right time.
If you want to be a good guide, you have to like people. All people in the group. In their complexity, diversity, and even when they are hard to manage.
And then, you have to create this experience, so that people really remember the trip. The difference between a good trip and an outstanding trip is the guide.
You have done a lot of guide training. In bringing guide training online, what is the main thing that is available for guides?
Many people believe that being a guide is not something you learn at a computer. I used to think like that but I changed my mind. In the end, what we do online is to give knowledge and the wish to go further. In online it’s a different approach, people learn the content, it’s self-paced… you can do it in one week or one month. They decide. They can go back to places and rewatch the course if they want. The content we give, we’ve reorganized everything for online… and in the end, I believe it will help people to be a great guide.
What are the main takeaways from the learning?
- Our key competencies in the course.
- How do you guide sustainable adventure travel trips?
- The importance of the role of the guide in safety management? What should guides know about the safety management system? A new perspective on how guides fit into a company’s safety policy.
- The experience. How to transform the experience into an incredible experience for your guests. Group management. Storytelling. Customer service.