In recent years, sky diving has gained prominence to become a popular tourist product. By and large, the popularity of the sport can be attributed to the dissemination of well articulated market stories.
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Through the application of this technique, skydiving has been promoted as an exciting and exhilarating activity that provides the ultimate adrenaline rush. At present, there are other market stories that are shaping the tourism product markets; most notable of these is eco-tourism which is emerging as the new frontier in tourism.
Definition of Skydiving
Sky diving is a sport that involves the participant jumping out of a moving aircraft, performing a variety of acrobatic maneuvers before finally pulling the parachute’s ripcord, usually at the last possible moment (Rinehart and Sydnor, 2003). Sky diving is distinguished from conventional parachuting in that it is done purely for recreational purposes.
History of Skydiving
According to Roberts (1999) Sky history can be traced back to the year 1797 when a Frenchman, Jacques Garnerin jumped out of a hot air balloon and did acrobatic maneuvers mid air before executing a safe landing. The sport gained prominence in the ensuing years with mainstream use of airplanes.
Why Skydiving is Good Product in Tourism Market
In any conceivable tourist destination around the world, skydiving is a good addition to the tourist market. This is because; skydiving offers the participants an opportunity to face their fears head on. Most people are terrified at the prospect of jumping out of a moving airplane. Sky diving offers them a chance to face these fears and actually surmount them
Skydiving is also a good product in the tourist market because it offers the tourists an opportunity to participate in a new experience. Most tourists who regularly visit new destinations would be interested in trying out new experiences during a visit to the area as opposed to participating in the same activities that they are accustomed to.
Few things in life can compare to the sensation of floating through the air that skydiving offers. Furthermore, the experience of skydiving would be a great story to tell friends and family members after the vacation. In summation, skydiving is an exhilarating, challenging and fun activity. (Buchanan, 2003) that would is a good product for any given tourist market.
Skydiving Destinations around the World
In recent years, skydiving has become a popular sport that is practiced in many countries around the world. The world’s top ranked skydiving destinations include Taupo, New Zealand, the Swiss Alps, San Marcos, Texas, Plettenberg, South Africa and the Katmachka Peninsula in Russia. (Wright, 2009)
Apart from skydiving, there a number of other adventure products on the tourist market. A notable example of this is bungee jumping. Bungee jumping is a sport that has grown in popularity in recent years. It involves the participant jumping from an elevated position, usually a cliff or bridge, while attached to a long elastic cord known as a bungee cord (McFee, 2008).
Another adventure product for the tourist market is white water rafting. White water rafting is a purely recreational activity that involves the use of an inflatable raft and oars to navigate rivers or other water bodies. The water bodies selected are usually rough, with strong waves and currents (Crossingham and Kalman, 2004). Adventure products also include mountaineering.
Mountaineering is a leisure activity that involves scaling mountains, cliffs and escarpments using specialist equipment. Mountaineering enthusiasts find it to be an invigorating experience. Closely related to mountaineering is rock climbing. Rock climbing is distinguished by the fact that it involves scaling natural or manmade rock formations with the aim of reaching the peak of the formation. (Ibid)
Parasailing is yet another adventure product, it involves the participant being towed by a boat or any type of land based vehicle while being attached to a modified parachute (parasail) by use of a specially configured harness. Parasailing is particularly exciting as the participant has no control whatsoever over the parasail (Hildyard, 2002). Another invigorating adventure product is B.A.S.E jumping.
B.A.S.E jumping is a recreational activity that involves the use of a pre-packed parachute to jump from various surfaces. The acronym B.A.S.E represent the various surfaces that a participant can jump off that is, buildings, antennae, spans and earth (Hamilton, 2010).
Finally, another adventure product is spelunking. Spelunking, also known as caving or potholing involves the exploration of wild, subterranean cave systems, preferably those that are off the beaten track (Hildyard, 2002).
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Adventure tourism is described by Buckley (2006) as travelling for leisure and recreation to exotic, isolated, remote or secluded locations with the intention of exploration or participating in an array of activities that offer physical challenges or are considered extreme sports.
Types of Adventure
Adventure can be divided into two broad categories: soft adventure and hard adventure. Soft adventure includes pursuits that are safe as they lack the element of danger.
Participants in soft adventure require little or no training or preparation and the activities are not particularly strenuous or physically demanding. Examples of activities that can be classified as soft adventure include hiking, bird watching and camping. (Hudson, 2003).
In contrast, hard adventure is described as activities that harbor an element of risk and danger and that require a certain skill set, training, rigorous preparation and a level of physical exertion. Examples include paragliding, snowboarding and skydiving. (Ibid)
Buchanan, T. (2003) Jump, skydiving made fun and easy. New Jersey. McGraw-Hill Inc.
Buckley, R. (2006) Adventure tourism. MA: Cab International Publishing.
Crossingham, J., and Kalman, B. (2004) Extreme Sports. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company Inc.
Hamilton, S. L. (2010) Base Jumping. Minnesota: Abdo Publishing Company.
Hildyard, J. (2002) Extreme sports. Chicago: Heinemann Educational Publishers.
Hudson, S. (2003) Sport and adventure tourism. New York: The Haworth Press Inc.
McFee, S. (2008) Bungee Jumping. New York: The Rosen Publishing group Inc.
Rinehart, R. E., and Sydnor, S. (2003) To the extreme alternative sports, Inside and out. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Roberts, J. (1999) Skydiving. Take the Leap. New York: The Rosen Publishing group Inc.
Wright, T. (2009) The 7 Best Places to Skydive Around the World Web. Available at https://vagabondish.com/best-places-to-skydive-around-the-world/