[ Beroeps Federatie van Natuursport Ondernemingen ]



Following the increasing regulation on nature accessibility on the one hand (especially the then threathening closure of rivers in the Walloon provinces in Belgium) and under pressure of the tourism sector on the other hand (enforcement of the law on the statute of travel agencies) a number of outdoor active leisure organisations have gathered on December 13, 1989 in the Professional association of outdoor sports businesses, BFNO for short.
In the special general assembly on 8th February 1995 it was made official that BFNO members must either be an entrepreneur or a commercial company. This decision implied that non profit organisations were excluded from joining and it resulted in a further profiling of the BFNO. In 1997, BFNO could underwrite a group insurance Civil Liability. This insurance is important because it covers both the exploitation and the professional liability. In 2001, an agreement was made regarding temporary staff. During the period 2001 -2003 BFNO worked intensively on the theme of safety and environmental protection. This in turn has resulted in an audit system that has been operational since 2003. BFNO is (in 2007) the umbrella organisation of 39 associations that professionally organise outdoor leisure activities.

In the fall of 2007 the European Confederation of Outdoor Employers was founded, thanks mainly to the efforts of the BFNO chairmanship.

Code of conduct

10 rules of the code of conduct of the BFNO outdoor leisure activity entrepreneur
1. Identification
BFNO members are always identifiable, as a BFNO member and as a defined organisation. They visibly attach all needed identification signs (logo, labels, stickers, etc.) on the used material (equipment, clothes, vehicle...).

2. Guidance
BFNO members always accompany the participants to and guide them during their activities.
They thoroughly brief the participants on practicing active leisure.
They ask every participant to respect the code of conduct.
They check the total approach of the planned activity and also check the compliance with the code.

3. Respect for nature
BFNO members only organise activities with total respect for the natural environment. They leave no garbage. They respect nature reserves. They avoid any damage to flora and avoid disturbing fauna. For more information please read BFNO Environmental Protection System; Smulders et al., 2001.

4. Respect for other people active in nature
While sporting BFNO members respect each other and other people active in nature, meaning they comply with the following rules: they give appropriate priority, for example mountain bikers give way to hikers, boatmen to fishermen. They avoid being loud. They inform other people active in nature of their planned activities. They avoid exceeding the capacity of use of the nature reserve.

5. Accessibility of private properties
BFNO members avoid at all cost to access private properties without the owner's permission.

6. Complying with the regulations
BFNO members respect the regulations in force.
They inform themselves of the local customs.
Prior to each activity, they ask, if need be, for a permission of the authority concerned, the association concerned or other people responsible.
They only camp or sleep overnight in approved locations.
They strictly respect the regulations regarding a camp fire, moreover, they always take account of the strictest safety regulations.

7. Contacts with local residents
BFNO members always respect local residents. They respect the residents' language, customs and habits. They do not avoid talking to them and take their knowledge of the local environment into account.

8. Participants' safety and insurance
BFNO members make a maximal effort to guarantee safety. They take the needed safety precautions for practicing their activities. They underwrite a proper insurance policy with an official insurance company.

9. Use of safe equipment
BFNO members only use safe and well maintained equipment. They make sure to always comply with the manufacturer's instructions. They use, where needed, only equipment bearing the required approval.

10. Qualified instructors
BFNO members guarantee a proper implementation of and compliance with this code of conduct. They therefore work with qualified and/or experienced instructors. They prefer to work with instructors that are formed in a recognised training centre.