AN ASSESSMENT OF ISSUES OF ADVENTURE TOURISM IN THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT


Abstract

Tourism can be evaluated in a number of different dimensions. Sustainable tourism however must be able to meet social and economic expectations of an organization or the nation. This paper analyses the characteristics of adventure tourism, a proper understanding of the activities that are classified as adventure tourism is detailed. Understanding adventure tourism and differentiating it from other forms of tourism involves an understanding of it participants, requirements, and market performance. After this, an analysis of the challenges that face sustainability in the tourism sector is evaluated. The findings pave way for provisions of recommendations on how to regulate and promote the industry. Current trends in the industry also pave way for future predictions on the performance of the sector.

Adventure tourism is among the leading trends in tourism industry. In developed and developing countries alike, this trend seems to be among the leading and most lucrative investment in the tourism industry. Adventure tourism has different meanings to different individuals. For example, some perceive adventure as leisure time that involves activities such as hiking, biking tours or even swimming. However, in summation, adventure tourism involves exploration or travel which carries certain difficulties and risks. The delineation and scope of the adventure tourism concept is still a subject of debate among tourism scholars (Bramwell and Lane, 1993, pp. 1—5, Walle, 1997 and Weber, 2001). There are a wide variety of stakeholders in this industry that make it complex. A majority of these stakeholders are suppliers from the mainstream tourism industry. As a result, this sector is composed of accommodation operators as well as equipment manufacturers. The robustness of this industry can be attributed to the activities of the different individuals who specialize in tour operations. Among all types of tourism, adventure tourism is the most popular and promising (Ahuja, 2011).
Adventure Tourism may be defined as a leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote, or wilderness destinations and tends to be associated with high levels of involvement and activity by the participants, most of it outdoors (Thompson Rivers University, 2013). According to the ATTA report (2011), adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry with recent estimates based on consumer surveys indicating 17% growth from 2009 - 2010. However, the report (ATTA, 2011) also indicates that the sustainability and profitability of adventure tourism will depend on a coordinated effort between the industry, government, local communities, and project supporters. These actors will need to take a development approach uniquely tailored to the local, political, economic, social, and environmental landscape. This research introduces and analyses the various social, political, economic and cultural challenges that impact the tourism industry with a specific view on adventure tourism. There are fundamental components of adventure tourism that will be analysed. Among this are the various stakeholders in the industry and the roles they play as well as their impact to the sustainability of the industry. Other than this, various typologies are put across to help understand the nature as well as the different components of adventure tourism. This is based on the fact that nature plays a vital role in the development and growth of this industry. Therefore, natural factors that impact nature in a negative way have a negative impact to the industry either directly or indirectly.
Individuals must adopt and embrace adventure as an attitude in order to discover and utilize their unique potential Boyd and Others, 2002, pp. 211--233). With the introduction and enhancement of the industry with new and modern technology, this industry has potential and is inevitably promising as the leading sector in the tourism industry. This makes it an interesting area of study and research based on its greenness and unexploited potential. However, it is also among the risky sectors in the industry and these calls for caution during the investment and promotion of sustainable development. Developing countries are leading in terms nature preservation as opposed to developed countries (Bourdeau and Corneloup et al., 2004, pp. 101--116). However, with the introduction of modern technology the balance is slowly shifting as technology is being utilized to harness and protect nature.


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