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Study Shows Growth Opportunities in Adventure Tourism


Adventure travelers in Brazil. GWSB researchers found that adventure tourism is a rapidly growing market. Photo Credit: Ion David


Could jungle tours, whitewater rafting or bird watching help a country’s economy? A new study from GWSB researchers identified adventure travel as a rapidly growing market that offers economic opportunity for countries seeking to develop tourism.

“Instead 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” said Kristin Lamoureux, director of International Institute of Tourism Studies.  “Additionally, adventure tourism often relies heavily on the natural and cultural resources a destination already has to offer. For many developing destinations without the resources to build infrastructure, adventure tourism is a realistic alternative and provides a strong argument for preserving a destination’s resources.”

The study, conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Xola Consulting, estimates that consumers worldwide spent more than $89 billion (excluding airfare and gear or clothing purchases) on adventure travel in 2009. The study also finds that approximately a quarter of those traveling from North America, Latin America and Europe took holidays involving adventure activities and spent $53 billion on gear purchases alone.

Researchers say the growth in adventure tourism is good news for both the public and private sectors, including governments, state or national tourism offices, tour operators and gear and apparel manufacturers.

“This initial market-sizing study on adventure tourism is crucial for future research and for entrepreneurs working in this sector,” said Phillipe Duverger, assistant professor at Towson University and a GWSB Ph.D. graduate who worked on the study. “It shows where and how big the opportunity is and provides future researchers a baseline for comparison with other quantitative studies.”

The study found that adventure travelers tend to be affluent and educated, and are typically are environmentally and culturally aware consumers and lean toward adventure travel because of its focus on responsible and sustainable development.

The study also found that the adventure market is sizable, at 26 percent of the traveling population. The study is expected to aid the adventure travel industry, destinations seeking to grow or improve adventure offerings and adventure tour operators.

Posted by gwsb on August 12, 2010 | Filed under: GWSB News.

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The members of the MBA Admissions team contribute to the blog with postings about recruitment tours, events, interviews with current students, and insights about the admissions process. The team is composed of:

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