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Adventure Tourism Research and Trends

After the AFAR Exchange we had a very interesting conference on the Adventure Tourism Research and Trends!

The speakers were; (http://www.adventuretravel.biz/connect/summit/summit-agenda/2010-featured-content/speakers/ )

  • Eric Brodnax from Away.com & AdventureFinder,

Eric Brodnax is a Vice President with Orbitz Worldwide where he serves as General Manager of The Away Network (Away.com, Outside Online, GORP, AdventureFinder, Trip.com, and Lodging.com). He joined Away as part of the founding management team in April of 1999, was SVP of Marketing & Operations during the company’s formative years, and assumed his current role after Orbitz’s acquisition of the company in January of 2005. As GM, Eric is responsible for setting the overall strategy and vision for the company including high level editorial direction.

  • Michaela Guzy from Travel and Leisure,

Michaela S. Guzy is the Vice President responsible for overseeing the travel category and development of new business initiatives for the Travel + Leisure brand. With six global editions in twenty-four countries, one of the fastest growing travel content websites, and three Travel+Leisure retail outlets–Travel + Leisure is one of the most recognized travel brands in the world. In her role, Guzy oversees the brand’s business operations, including sales, new program development, and industry relations.

  • Kristin Lamoureux from the Washington University

Dr. Kristin Lamoureux is the Director of the International Institute of Tourism Studies at the George Washington University, as well as an faculty member of the Department of Tourism and Hospitality Management, specializing in destination management, adventure and volunteer tourism, sustainable and niche tourism development. Currently, her duties include the oversight of all of the Institute’s activities including the Professional Education Program and all grants/contracts such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance.

  • Shanon Stowell from the ATTA.

Shannon is President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Under his leadership, the organization has grown into the largest international association of adventure travel companies with more than 600 members and dozens of tourism boards, major corporations and influential individuals helping propel industry initiatives forward.


Some of the ideas that were discussed in this session include the increase in the Adventure travel Market, especially in the UK and Europe where there has been an increase in number of travelers and money spent. (Top 10 destinations) Spain is still unknown in this market; PURAVERA has been first representatives in this sector. It offers an ideal situation to position Extremadura and the shire of la Vera as the first destination in the adventure travel market. The first step has been accomplished, we have put the region in the world map and other tour operators, destination managers and media are starting to talk about us.

  • 70% of the total market is North and Latin America and Europe.
  • 40% of the people travelling in adventure travel activity are between 30-40 years old.
  • 18% is over 40 years
  • 62% have a post-secondary education (20% more than mass tourism)
  • Market of 89 Billion Dollars (US) or 89 Thousand Million Dollars (EU)

The domestic travel is also growing from the well-educated which is not the same as the well-off.

The most important figure is that the expenditure of these travelers is more important that it seems. A greater percentage of the money spent by tourist stays in the communities where they operate. If adventure travel is structured and planned correctly it can be the driving force for local development of the region, it promotes the creation of new business and the much needed employment in these regions.

That’s why we have a great responsibility and can do a great aid as our activities result in direct employment for the local populations. This together with the use and promotion of local produce and services can lead to a viable alternative to develop remote and rural areas.

AFAR Magazine (Study)

China is growing dramatically in middle class citizens which results in an increase in customers for the adventure travel market. China is beginning to developing at a fast rate and is looking for energy companies, construction and other products. It’s even introducing in the tourism sector and their companies are increasing shares in the sector. They are clearly moving towards conservation products that we are offering in the adventure travel market. The average cost of trip is around 3.000 $ per trip, without flight. It’s important to note, according to other studies, soft adventures around 822 $ per week and hard adventures 500 $ per week. These figures seem to be biased; as these are figures from the general public and not the operators.

Adventure Market has no mega resorts and promotes development of remote areas with less need for initial investment and with minimum impact on the surrounding environment.

According to a customer survey, the new tourist looks for the following attractions for adventure travel satisfaction:

  • Historical site preservation.
  • Seeing things before the disappear
  • Natural tourism (Environment).
  • Experiences, new cultures.
  • Relax (Hard and Soft adventures) active tourism.
  • Authenticity.
  • First to see a destination.
  • Time in nature.
  • Increase physical activity.
  • Have a good time.



Some Tips:

®     Tour operators: Lower their package holidays with activities as there is an increasing market with less economic income but with great growth potential.

®     National Geographic, AFAR Magazines: Promote social marketing 360° to get to the audience and a very fast growing market.

®     Target Smart phones and tablets: Cell phones and smart phones is a growing market, enable access to your website via phone, possibility of offering on time offers, possibility of linking to location, be more specific and target your real audience with what they really want. Greater communication and interchange of information between company and customer, client, tourist and with other collaborators and suppliers. This is still on the experimental phase, we still don’t know the results, haven’t figured yet, but the growth is so dramatic that the cost of not doing anything is too high.

®     Be careful with new technology and make it accessible through these new systems, (phones, social media) Make info accessible and correct to see under these means.

®     Age range 30 to 40 years; Market these customers, product for these clients, traditional market is moving to real experiences.

®     Global Rush Gold Report 2020 – estimates that 1/3 of arrivals on this date will come from Asia.

®     Airlines are and will be struggling with their viability. Take advantage of those seeking experience and focus on local markets, sell products from A to Z.

What do you think of these adventure travel trends?

Do you think that adventure travel can be the driving force for the development of remote rural areas?

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