The Skift podcast “When Everything Is an Adventure, What Happens to Adventure Travel?” helped me to get a deeper understanding of what the concept of adventure travel entails. Before, I was inclined to think that adventure travel always includes some extreme experiences, like skydiving or kayaking. However, in this podcast, the people working in the industry claim that there is much more to it than extreme activities and that today, the market is broadening to suit all types of customers.
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For instance, I was surprised to find out that the consumer pool in the field of adventure travel has been expanding to feature both the younger and older audiences. Bruce Poon Tip, founder and CEO of G Adventures, states that today, people in their late 40s and 50s are far more fit than they were a decade ago, and they are also more active and interested in learning about the world surrounding us. They do not necessarily pursue adventurous activities, however, and tend to be more involved with the cultural experience, tasting the different foods, communicating with local people, and so on. On the other hand, the younger population is more attracted to adventure travel as it no longer means that they have to leave their social media accounts behind – most adventure destinations and experiences feature Wi-Fi.
Moreover, modern technologies can be used to capture and share the adventure with people from all around the world. And even though the speakers in the podcast think this is a good thing as it allows people to attract their friends to pursue the same adventure, I do not feel that all technologies are beneficial in this way. For example, using a GoPro camera allows seeing the experience in the first person, whereas a live broadcast can be done to share it in real time. In this way, people have an opportunity to experience the adventure without actually being there, which might lead them to choose another destination that is unexplored. Furthermore, the recent developments in VR made the technology more realistic, and certain people might want to experience traveling with VR instead of doing it in real life.
To me, the older segment of the market looks more promising, especially since it is not as widely involved with technological substitutes and prefers real-life experience. Casey Hanisko, VP of marketing for the Adventure Travel Trade Association, stated that popular adventure destinations invest in becoming more and more sophisticated. I find this a good idea since the people in their older years are usually less flexible when it comes to living conditions and food preferences. As noted by the speakers, they want to be involved with the cultural experience and try new things, but at the same time, they are looking for an excellent hotel and restaurant food. I believe that the development of adventure business in this area will also attract younger customers who are not fond of extreme activities and conditions and prefer to have more comfort, thus expanding the target audience of adventure travel.
Overall, I found this podcast interesting and enlightening in certain ways. Listening to the explanations of the speakers allowed me to expand my perception of adventure travel. Despite the fact that many people still perceive adventure travel as something extreme and uncomfortable, the industry is growing to accommodate the general public’s demands, becoming more sophisticated and culturally intense at the same time. The development is promising, and I think that over time, the field of adventure tourism might become one of the most profitable segments of the market.