What is adventure travel?
A tour including a physical activity.
Before we continue with any discussions relating to marketing or controlling the industries safety standards it is important that we define the sector properly. The word Adventure has been thrown around allot in the last decade in the South African Travel Industry and been used extensively in most companies marketing campaigns. Basically it looks like any trip to Southern Africa is an adventure holiday. Is this where we want to place our tourism Industry in the future? To me and my company we define adventure travel as any multi-day tour or day trip that includes a physical activity and a small element of danger. I will get back to the issue of DANGER later in my presentation. Internationally adventure travel is defined as a trip that includes a physical activity and interaction with nature and a cultural experience, already in South Africa we have separated this definition into Safaris for interaction with nature and Cultural Travel so all that is left now if the physical aspect.
Adventure Travel or adventure activities are classically broken down into two categories when it comes to marketing, HARD and SOFT adventure. The way I decide whether an adventure is hard or soft is easy. If you need a certain amount of training, physical skill and experience to partake in the adventure it is classified as a HARD adventure. For example lets take White Water Kayaking, not to confuse this with White Water Rafting. To Kayak white water you need to be physically strong and have paddling skills above that average person cruising around Emmerentia lake in Johannesburg. You need to be able to read and understand river dynamics and be comfortable with an element of risk. Other examples of Hard adventure are Rock Climbing, Cave Diving, Paragliding, Base Jumping, Mountaineering. This is small sector of the adventure industry most likely not more than 2% adventure travelers fall in this category. These type of adventure trips are normally not guided but arranged within that sports community and social circles, here decisions are made on the awesome factor and off course affordability. So lets not waste any marketing money here and certainly lets not try and control this sector.
It is really easy to decide if an adventure activity falls in this category, all you have to do is ask yourself how much skill is needed to partake in this adventure activity, if none at all it is a soft adventure. For example Skydiving will fall in both Hard and Soft Adventure but as soon as you strap yourself to a Tandem skydiver and he has to make all the decisions the activity then becomes a soft adventure. Currently Dirty Boots has over 100 different adventure activities that fall into the Soft Adventure category. Soft Adventure is where the marketing opportunities lie, research shows that this sector is more likely to respond to target marketing.