adventure tourism: the sustainable tourism opportunity for emerging markets


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[Adventure Tourism] The Sustainable Tourism Opportunity for Emerging Markets

[Adventure Tourism]The Sustainable Tourism Opportunity for Emerging MarketsShannon Stowell // ITB Asia 2015


President of the ATTACo-founder of Altrec.comRestarted ATTA in 2004Co-authored Riding the Hulahula to the Arctic OceanBlogs for National Geographic Adventure

[Shannon Stowell]Adventure Travel Trade Association ATTA

Welcome, Im Shannon Stowell, the president of the ATTA.

[AGENDA]1Definitionof adventure travel2market opportunity for adventure travel4Importance of Sustainability3The Asian Advantage

The ATTA sees that Asian destinations have great potential for adventure tourism.I hope this presentation will inspire you to develop adventure products, and take your destination management issues very seriously.

Once I share information about adventure travelers from our original research and trends in activities and destinations you will see how the assets of Asian destinations from your wilderness to wildlife to centuries-old culture can be shared with adventure travelers for a one-of-a-kind experience.

I will also share with why I believe emerging markets in Asia in particular have an edge right now with adventure travelers.Lets get started

The Definition of Adventure Travel

We define adventure travel as having three attributes: interaction with the environment, physical activity and cultural exchange. When two of these are present it is adventure travel. A trip with each attribute is the core of what we call adventure travel.[WHAT IS ADVENTURE TRAVEL?]INTERACTION WITHTHE ENVIRONMENTPHYSICAL ACTIVITYCULTURAL EXCHANGE


First, what is adventure travel?We at the ATTA base our definition on consumer research we did in which we learned that consumers value the cultural experience as much as the nature and physical aspects.In the next slides Im going to show some images of adventure tourism..


Birdwatching a soft adventure travel activity, growing in popularity. Combined with a hike and lunch in a rural village for example, this is a terrific adventure tourism experience.

Mountaineering ATTA

Mountaineering of course, this is the kind of hard adventure activity many people think of when they adventure travel to Nepal and climb Everest, now thats adventure travel.


Heres rock climbing of course you have so much of this in Asian countries, with climbs for people at all levels. I came across a great blog written by a young woman, a novice climber, describing her climbing experiences in Thailand.

Whitewater Rafting ATTA

Whitewater rafting this of course is a very flexible adventure travel activity great for half day trips, can be offered on longer trips with wilderness camping, stretches of river can be good for families, or more technical and risky.


Sea kayaking one of the easiest and gentlest ways to tour the coast, a very popular adventure travel activity.

Lunch with Locals ATTA

And of course, lunch with the locals local food and culture is one of the cornerstones of adventure travel. Well talk more about the importance of food experiences in the adventure product later in this presentation.


In the next slides Im going to share some information about the global adventure travel market based on primary research conducted by The George Washington University for the ATTA.

Global Adventure Travel Market Value


First, the global market value.We valued the global adventure travel market in 2012 at $263B. This is published in our 2013 Adventure Travel Market Study and is available online if you want to search for it. This was just looking at international departures from North America, South America, and Europe, however. While these regions account for 70% of international travel, we knew we were missing Asia from this study, and now, a few years hence, we know we need to update this number.

If the adventure market without Asia is $263B, we imagine the market including Asia is even larger.

Compared to the global tourism industry, we know adventure is still just a small slice of the pie. However, we also looked at growth rate. And we found 65% growth between 2009 and 2012, when we repeated the survey. Whatever critiques someone may have about the study, theres no denying the growth rate, which is quite impressive and leads us to believe that adventure travel is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry.

(Shannon, if you have a numbers person in the audience, they might ask about the growth rate, which is not calculated on a compound basis here).

trip price per dayIncluding lodging, excluding airfares

*source: ATTA 2015 industry snapshot ATTA

from the 2015 Industry Snapshot, our survey of adventure travel tour operators, we find trip prices ranging from $215 per day on the low end (for companies headquartered n Europe) to $477 on the high end, for companies headquartered in North America.

[40%]of travelers world wideare potential adventure travel customers


Next, I want to turn to another finding from the 2013 market study, which was that 40.6% of all travelers have engaged in an adventure activity on a past trip and could therefore be considered an adventure traveler. This statistic was arrived at by taking a very general look at traveller activities, and seeing that 40.6% of international travelers had engaged in the past five years in an adventure activity. For everyone in this audience, I would encourage you to see any person in the past who has engaged in an adventure activity is a potential customer.

The list activities that were included in our survey were:Archeological expeditionsBackpackingBirdwatchingCamping CanoeingCavingClimbingCyclingEcotourismEnvironmentally sustainable activitiesFishingHeli skingHikingHorseback ridingHuntingKayakingKite surfingMotorized sportsOrienteeringParaglidingRaftingResearch expeditionSafarisSand boardingSailingScuba divingSnorkelingSking/snowboardingStand up paddle boardingSurfingTrekkingVolunteer tourism

U.S. Adventure Traveler MarketMASS TRAVELERS34%



Our 2013 market study revealed that 40% of international travelers had tried an adventure activity on a trip in the last three years. This was a good start, but we knew there was much more to to be learned about adventure travelers, and in 2014 we decided to do a more in-depth study of travelers.We started with a survey of travelers based in the USA, and we hope to replicate this study in other regions of the world.This was an electronic survey of 1700 US travelers.

We went beyond asking simply about past activities and included a series of additional questions that allow us to define more sharply different types of adventure travelers by looking more closely at their behavior.So addition to just looking at what the activity was on the last trip, we asked people to share the primary and secondary activity of their last trip. For instance, people might be visiting family as a primary activity, but will undertake hiking as a secondary activity in the same trip. We also asked questions about perception and comfort with risk and desire for a thrilling experience. And we further asked about their skill level in the activities they undertake and whether they repeat activities time and again when they travel.The responses allowed us to come up with three dominant adventure traveler profiles, which we are calling:Adventure GrazerAdventurerAdventure Enthusiast

Adventure Grazers: these are novice and first time participants of adventure activities. They are eager to sample new things and move through their bucket list. They are accepting of moderate risk.Next Adventurers: these people are intermediate in their skill level, they repeat the same activity on different trips, and they are thrill-seekers, also accepting of moderate risk. And finally we have the Enthusiasts: these are the people who are very advanced in their favorite activities, they accept high risk.

What we are calling Up-and-coming adventurers - these are people who may take on an adventure activity (often soft) as part of a trip, most likely as a secondary activity

And then we have mainstream or mass travelers these are people who do not engage in adventure activities

Thinking of the U.S. population in this way, we start to get a different sense of adventure tourisms potential, dont we? Next, Id like to share a video of Taleb Rifai from the UNWTO speaking on the topic of adventure tourism.

World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Secretary-General Mr. Taleb Rifai joined ATTA President Shannon Stowell on stage to discuss the effects and impact of adventure travel on the future of tourism worldwide.

View more adventure travel videos on our YouTube Channel:@AdvTravTrade [VIDEO]

Taleb Rifai Secretary General of the United World Tourism Organization came to our Adventure Travel World Summit in 2012 in Switzerland. To get a grasp of how global leaders view the place adventure travel as in the tourism landscape we wanted to share this video with you.


Lets go now to the Asian Advantage. What is the opportunity for asia when it comes to building an adventure tourism market?

AsiaN Destinations Are Appealing to Adventure TravelersRegions noted by tour operators as receiving increased interest from adventure travelers:ChinaIndiaNortheast AsiaSoutheast AsiaSouth