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Tragedy to Triumph: Learning from Our Mistakes to Limit Future Risks

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“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes” – Oscar Wilde

Less than a year ago, tragedy struck in the tropical and wild Costa Rican wilderness. Four rafting clients and an experienced raft guide lost their lives during a white water rafting trip in extreme conditions on the Naranjo River in Quepos.

With this tragedy and others over past decades, the International Rafting Federation (IRF) has asked the question “how can we learn from the mistakes of others to help limit our future risks?” There is no point in rehashing old mistakes without taking time to review and determine if we are on the right path.

With the purpose of building on safety foundations in the extreme adventure travel and sports industries, the first World Summit of the International Rafting Federation (IRF), which expects to receive over 250 participants from 25 countries, will be held at the Costa Rica Convention Center and the Pacuare River between October 8 and 13, 2019. Its agenda will be developed around the thematic axis that defines its slogan: “Managing risk for a prosperous future.”

In planning risk management for a prosperous future, specialists from across the globe will lead engaging and thought provoking workshops in specialist fields such as the advances in raft guide certifications; the latest in swift water rescue techniques; management of environmental risks occurring in the many varying rivers we work in; first aid and emergency management in remote wilderness areas; managing drug and alcohol use and abuse in outdoor activities; and, realising our own limitations in non-verbal communications.

The historic event was launched on Saturday, May 18, 2019, during the World Rafting Championship at the Tully River in Australia by Rafael Gallo, Honorary President of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) and President of the Costa Rica Sports Association for Adventure and Paddling (ADAR). The Summit has the backing of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).

The WWWRS will convene experts involved in the regulation, certification and operation of rafting with the mission to modernize rules and procedures of the IRF worldwide. Rafting dignitaries attending the Summit will include Joe Willis Jones, IRF President and Chair of the Board of Directors; Jib Ellison, Founder of Project RAFT (Russians and Americans For Teamwork); and Julie Munger, CEO and Founder of Sierra Rescue International and the Western Regional Director for Rescue 3 International in the USA.

“It was decided to hold the World White Water Rafting Summit in Costa Rica because the country is following a model of cooperation between the government and the private sector for the certification of guides and rafting companies. As well, Costa Rica is an iconic place for rafting in the world due to the beauty of its rivers,” explained Gallo.

Costa Rica has positioned itself for many years as a leading tourism destination in sustainability and adventure activities. “We are very proud of the challenge of assuming the headquarters of this Summit, since Costa Rica is undoubtedly the ideal scenario for its extensive biodiversity, the generous endowment of its rivers, and its permanent initiatives to improve tourism,” said Juan Carlos Borbón, Marketing Department of the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT).

The summit has a strong focus on water based activities, but encourages participants from other adventure tourism and sport agencies to attend to ensure the sharing of experiences and knowledge is well rounded.

Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.

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