Are consumers getting tired of boring vacations? Would they rather rappel down the side of a mountain instead of lounge next to a pool with a cocktail in hand? The researchers who study the adventure travel market say it would be a mistake to ignore the sizeable number of consumers who are looking for something different on their next vacation.

Preliminary research from George Washington University and Xola Consulting for the Adventure Tourism Market Report indicates that up to 25% of all consumers can be classified as adventure travelers. Globally, this market is worth $89 million. Defining the market is somewhat challenging because the nature of adventure varies from one person to another. However, researchers agreed that an adventure vacation would include at least 2 of the following activities:

  • Engaging in physical activity
  • Interacting with nature
  • Learning about another culture

The typical adventure traveler is between the ages of 35 and 47. And it’s important to understand what drives the need for adventure. Michelle Baran writes that this consumer “has a desire to go, seek and experience, regardless of financial circumstances.”

Kristin Lamoureux, director of International Institute of Tourism Studies  at George Washington University says “[i]nstead of being seen as a small, niche market, the study shows that adventure tourism is a sizable market with the potential for significant economic growth opportunities.” Specific markets can promote themselves as being small and unique in order to attract the adventure traveler. And destination marketing organizations and other travel service providers can promote specific adventures to consumers of all income levels by advertising the special properties of a particular region.

[Sources: Baran, Michelle. Adventure travelers forge ahead. TravelWeekly.com 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2010;  Study Shows Growth Opportunities in Adventure tourism. GW School of business. 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 14 Oct. 2010]