Adventure Travel Taking Conservation to the Masses

Adventure travel continues to grow and build awareness with new markets of travellers. As has been the case for the past 10 years, adventure companies continue to say they anticipate growth in the coming year: a recent survey published by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) highlighted that more than 70% of businesses say they are growing; 40% of those say the reason for growth is new customers.

International research rm Euromonitor in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation recently reported that soft adventure activities (narrowly defined as hiking, viewing nature/ ecotourism, kayaking, rafting, backpacking) constitute a global market valued at $470 billion involving an estimated 238 million tourists per year. Topping the list of adventure trends in terms of destinations and activities for 2018 are hiking, cycling, culinary and “environmentally sustainable” experiences in New Zealand, Australia, Scandinavia and South America. Christina Beckmann, ATTA’s Director, Education and Research, said: “In terms of motivations, adventure travellers say they’re seeking out adventure experiences in the hopes of expanding their worldview, bringing about greater mental and physical health, and connecting more deeply with their travel companions and those in the communities they visit.”

A recent consumer study of more than 2,200 travellers conducted by Mandala Research found that 63% of all travellers say they are “much more likely” to consider destinations where there is a strong effort to conserve and protect natural resources.

Ms Beckmann added: “Travellers expect experiences that are sensitive to local communities, the environment, and wildlife, and it is often the smaller- scale businesses in remote and rural destinations that are having a direct impact.

“Mindful of these shifts in consumer motivation and awareness of their environmental and social impact, destinations and tour operators alike are sharpening their focus on product development and marketing strategies as well as applying best practices for managing the impacts of so many visitors on destinations. Expect to see adventure destinations looking holistically at adventure market development with greater emphasis on distribution of visitors, management of peak and shoulder seasons and environmental and social monitoring and evaluation initiatives.”

Ms Beckann said that through the experiences they provide, adventure guides and businesses can change the way travellers feel about the environment and people in other parts of the world. “Ultimately, adventure travel can change the way people decide to spend money and vote, the two most powerful tools in mitigating the effects of climate change on our world”.

Hall 4.1 / Stand 215