Adventure tourism is growing faster than a speeding zip liner. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America, nearly one half of US adults, or 98 million people, have taken an adventure trip. That’s because the industry isn’t just catering to gutsy thrill-seekers anymore. Resorts now provide a wider array of activities targeted at mainstream travelers, a market that includes increasing numbers of two-income families, childless couples, single adults and members of the growing aging population. “Adventure tours have gone from 16 percent of passenger volume in 2001 to 50 percent for advance bookings this year,” writer Kirk Johnson said in “Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure” in the New York Times.
Seniors are among the most surprising demographic of a new breed of adventure traveler. “Intensely active older men and women who have the means and see the twilight years as just another stage of exploration are pushing further and harder, tossing aside presumed limitations. And the global travel and leisure industry, long focused on youth, is racing to keep up,” Johnson says.
Industry mainstays are responding enthusiastically to this energetic trend. Disney has launched its “Adventures by Disney” line of family-centered adventure tours. Hyatt now offers its “Adventure Hyatt” line of services at 18 resorts. Marriott, Rosewood and Starwood, all successful mainstream hospitality companies, are getting on the bandwagon by providing their customers with more adventure opportunities. This evident commitment to serving this growing tourism segment indicates a widely held belief that this is no passing fad, but a trend with longevity.
The Resort at Isla Palenque, a new resort real estate project in Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui, will key into this adventure trend by offering an impressive array of adventure opportunities on the island’s 400 acres of mature forests, lagoons and mangroves, and its surrounding waters. All kinds of water sports will be available, and visitors will have the chance to go wildlife-spotting for howler monkeys, jungle cats or tropical birds along six miles of hiking trails in the resort’s tropical forests. In addition, the resort plans to offer tree-climbing, a fashionable new adventure sport similar to rock climbing, using some of the island’s giant trees. “With the help of a couple of ropes, some basic knots and a little sweat, tree-climbing offers an adventure alternative with incredibly beautiful views,” says a blogger who posted his tree-climbing experience on The Ambler.
“You could vacation here for weeks and still try something new every day,” says Ben Loomis, President of Amble Resorts, an ecologically-sensitive real estate development company. Loomis is preparing to break ground next year on The Resort at Isla Palenque. “On our island resort, you can hike in the tropical jungle, go tree-climbing up hundred-year-old trees, scale rocky bluffs, and walk in the treetops on a series of elevated canopy walks.”
Loomis says the nearby Coiba Island and Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Park offer some of the most intense whale watching in the world. Other resort activities will include sea kayaking, sailing, boating, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and some of the best sport fishing in the world. Nearby day trips will offer canopy ziplining and mountain river rafting.
About Isla Palenque
Amble Resorts’ new Panama real estate project, The Resort at Isla Palenque, will be a secluded and sustainable resort community with a unique boutique hotel, ingeniously designed residences, and sumptuous amenities.