Yesterday, George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies announced the results of their Adventure Tourism study.
Dr. Kristin Lamoureux stated:
“Instead of being seen as a small, niche market, the study shows that adventure tourism is a sizable market with the potential for significant economic growth opportunities.”
Amble’s research showed that adventure tourism went mainstream several years ago, but it’s great to get confirmation that it’s still going strong. As a matter of fact, here’s a quote from a 2002 study by National Geographic Traveler and the Travel Industry Association of America:
“Overall, the majority of the traveling public (71%) indicates that it is important to them that their visits to a destination not damage its environment. Nearly two thirds agree (61%) that their travel experience is better when the destination preserves its natural, historic, and cultural sites and attractions. Many travelers (58%) support controlling access to National Parks and public lands so they can be preserved and protected. Over half (53%) of travelers agree that their travel experience is better when they have learned as much as possible about their destination’s customs, geography, and culture.”
My distillation of the above: most people want travel to be more than just a party on a beach. They want nature and culture, meaning and connection. So protecting our stunning Panama island property and its natural resources is more than just environmentally responsible, it’s going to make sure we attract the customers we want.
Another quote from Lamoureux:
“Additionally, adventure tourism often relies heavily on the natural and cultural resources a destination already has to offer. For many developing destinations without the resources to build infrastructure, adventure tourism is a realistic alternative and provides a strong argument for preserving a destination’s resources.”
Agreed. Contrary to the outdated tourism model where beaches are covered with high-rise buildings and partying crowds (I’m looking at you, Cancun!), adventure tourism caters to travelers who are there to experience a destination in its natural state. That makes things like environmental responsibility and cultural sensitivity not only philanthropic, but good for business. That’s good for everybody.