The 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study uses the same methodology and approach as the 2010 study allowing for direct comparison between the studies and growth trend analysis. It included three key outbound regions: Europe, North America and South America. These regions account for nearly 70 percent of overall international departures, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The study estimates the value of the global outbound adventure travel sector to be US$263 billion, excluding airfare, up from US$89 billion first reported in the benchmark consumer study. When this US$263 billion is combined with the estimated $82 billion spent for related gear, apparel and accessories, adventure travelers spent more than $345 billion in 2012 for travel related to adventure.
“Adventure tourism’s steep climb is attributed to growth in the global tourism industry, a significant increase in the percentage of adventure travelers, and an increase in the average amount spent per adventure travel trip,” said ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell. “This comes as positive news, of course, and reinforces the ATTA community’s rising commitment to safety, education, training and development of innovative and culturally and environmentally sound travel options. As we watch adventure travel tourism grow it is imperative that we continue to provide travelers with transformative experiences, all while helping to protect and respect the very people and places visited.”
The GW/ATTA’s market value results reflect the growth in the international tourism market which reached an all-time record of more than one billion international tourism arrivals in 2012, as reported by the UNWTO. As UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said at the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit, “Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow.”
Also viewed as a key contributor to this significant growth pattern is the increase in the percentage of European and South American travelers classified as adventure travelers, an increase in the average spending by adventure travelers globally ($593 per trip in 2009 to $947 in 2012), recovery from the global financial crisis, and the emergence of new source markets.
The ATTA defines a trip as “adventure travel” if it involves two of the following three elements, with the core of an adventure trip involving all three:
- connection with nature,
- interaction with culture, and
- a physical activity.
In the 2013 Market Study respondents were asked specifically if they had participated in an adventure activity on their last trip. Example activities included soft adventure options such as hiking, kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, volunteer tourism and archaeological expeditions and hard adventure options such as caving, climbing, heli-skiing, kite surfing, trekking and paragliding.
Further highlights from the Adventure Tourism Market Study include: