Adventure Travel and the Covid-19 Pandemic

Membership, Mountain Medicine, UIAA

In their capacity as medical professionals and volunteers, members of the UIAA Medical Commission have provided frontline support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. On behalf of the UIAA, they have also provided valuable support to the dedicated UIAA Covid-19 Taskforce and have worked on literature to provide mountain users with the best possible advice.

Last year MedCom members contributed to the first paper to tackle the subject of Covid-19 and the potential risks of outdoor sports. In May 2021, Commission member David Hillebrandt (former Commission President) and guest author Piotr Szawarski published an advice paper titled ‘Adventure Travel and the Covid-19 Pandemic’. It is intended for persons and organisations who are planning trips in the Covid era.

As the paper’s abstract outlines:

In the modern world local and international travel was taken for granted and this has enabled the adventure travel industry to thrive. This concept is now threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many individual mountaineers and those in the industry see the pandemic in simplistic terms and do not appreciate the many additional risks that have to be taken into account when planning a trip. Our medical knowledge of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is constantly evolving so this advice paper has applied the general principles of travel and expedition medicine to give insight into the many varied medical and political risk factors to be considered when planning any venture.

The paper then looks at the subjects of impediments, risks, mitigation and crisis before drawing some general conclusions.

There is also an annex in a table form of considerations with regards to feasibility of adventure travel under pandemic conditions.

The paper, currently in English, can be downloaded here.

Main image, courtesy: ©FASA Mountain Youth School “Jóvenes Andinistas” /Javier Trama