The adventure tourism market was valued at an estimated $263 billion US dollars in the year 2014. This market is poised to experience a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent by the year 2020. An increased interest in adventurous activities over other types of tourist activities and the availability of low-cost airlines are expected to propel the size of the market in the next few years.
Adventure tourism is a specialty travel niche in the tourism industry. This type of tourism involves traveling to remote or exotic locations and participating in adventurous activities, such as sky diving, spelunking, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, scuba diving, trekking and white water rafting, among other bold activities. Those who participate in adventure tourism experience a “rush” by stepping outside of their comfort zones, exerting significant effort and experiencing, to some degree, some type of risk.
The adventure tourism market is growing at a rapid rate. It one of the fastest growing sectors of the tourism market on a whole. There are a variety of factors that have boosted the size of this market over the past few years and are expected to continue augmenting the market during the forecasted period.
The increased preference for adventure above other types of activities that are associated with tourism will have a significant impact on the size and value of this market. The general public is becoming increasingly interested in partaking in highly adventurous activities, such as trekking, sky diving, scuba diving, spelunking, deep sea diving, caving and other activities that involve taking high risks.
Another factor that is expected to increase interest in adventure tourism and boost the size of the market is recommendations made by healthcare professionals. These activities can help to restore the mind and provide a break from the monotony of day-to-day life, and they also serve as a way to reduce stress and anxiety.
The availability of low-cost airlines is another factor that is expected to propel the size of the adventure tourism market in the coming years. In order to reach some of the top adventure tourism locations, such as New Zealand, Canada, Iceland and Switzerland, air travel is a necessity. Low-cost airlines have made it possible for those who are interested in partaking in these adventurous activities to reach such destinations, which has helped to propel the size of the this sector of the tourism market. Moreover, the growth of expendable income in countries throughout the world has allowed, and will continue to allow, adventure-seeking tourists to invest in this type of travel, thereby further boosting the size of the adventure tourism market on a global scale.
As mentioned, the adventure tourism market is comprised of a variety of activities. Popular activities in this travel sector change on a regular basis; however, at present time and over the course of the next few years, it appears that certain activities will largely contribute to the growth of this market.
Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most popular activities that people partake in. Travelers from across the globe descend on locations that offer prime opportunities for skiing and snowboarding, such as the Alps in Switzerland and remote mountain ranges in Pakistan, where heli-skiing (jumping from a helicopter to participate in skiing) is a popular recreational activity.
Cycling has long been a beloved pastime, but in recent years, it has become an increasingly popular activity for adventure tourists. More people are partaking in highly adventurous cycling in locations that provide rugged, and even seemingly impassible terrains, such as locations in the Rocky Mountains in the United States and intense road biking events, such as the Tour de France. In the US state of Wisconsin, for example, cycling tourism has generated an estimated $924 million US dollars annually as a result of visitors who are traveling to the state in order to partake in adventure cycling. In Europe, cycling brings in more than 44 billion Euros a year.
Trekking, backpacking and hiking are also becoming increasingly popular adventure activities in recent years. These activities are expected to become even more popular. Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Brazil and countries throughout Africa, Europe and Asia are all sought after destinations for individuals who are interested in these activities.
There are several locations that play a key role in the global adventure tourism market. These locations include:
Europe has dominated the adventure tourism market in recent years, as this region is home to several countries that offer excellent opportunities for multiple activities. Some of the most popular adventure tourism markets in Europe include Iceland, Switzerland and Germany. Moving forward, this region will continue to see aggressive growth in the adventure tourism market.
North America has also held a large share of the adventure tourism markets in recent years. Canada, the United States and Mexico all offer prime locations for various types of adventure-related activities, such as scuba diving, mountain climbing and biking, trekking, hang gliding, sky diving, caving and so forth. It is expected that this region will continue to see impressive growth over the forecasted time period.
Asia Pacific also holds a large percentage of the adventure tourism market, as well. This region is home to New Zealand, a highly popular location for multiple adventurous activities. In the course of the next few years, it is expected that this region will see significant growth in the industry.
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Numerous vendors participate in the adventure tourism industry, making it a highly competitive market. Key vendors compete against each other in terms of the types of adventure activities they offer, their service portfolios, their price structures, the safety measures they take, and the licensing that they receive from government agencies.
Some of the most notable key vendors in this market include Austin Adventures, G Adventures, Explore Worldwide, and MTS.