In 2022, the adventure tourism market raked in $366.7 billion worldwide. By 2032, experts say it will scale Everest level heights — gaining more than 28% a year hit $4.6 trillion.
For some people, the idea of vacationing to sit on a beach for two weeks is unappealing. Their bucket lists involve activities that explore the natural world to its fullest, whether hiking in the wilderness, mountain climbing, white water rafting, or cave kayaking.
While this type of tourism is rising, especially among younger generations, over-tourism can create negative environmental impacts. Many are implementing measures to ensure the growing adventure-based tourism industry does not leave a noticeable human footprint behind.
“The shift towards sustainable and ecological tourism is a notable change within the industry,” says Balaram Thapa, Director of Nepal Hiking Team. “Travelers are progressively aware of their carbon footprint.”
The threat of over-tourism has been a growing concern in places like Venice, Italy, where the city put measures in place to limit the number of tourists within the city. The impacts of tourism here have seen a change in the overall culture of the area, pollution levels, and the environment.
While this might be seen as progressive, the fundamental reasons people enjoy Venice in the first place are slowly eroding away. In the same way, the growth of adventure tourism can pose similar threats to the natural environments that attract people to them in the first place.
“Adventure tourism poses human threats to the environment, such as disturbed animal habitats, poaching, and death of plants and animals,” says Zoe Wallace, Head Travel Author of Culture.org. “It is possible to transfer local plant and animal pathogens and diseases to previously uninfected areas because people carried them through their clothes, bags, and bodies.”
Creating awareness about the tourism industry’s impact is helping people choose more sustainable travel practices. Wallace says many people on adventure tours will opt for “environmental activities such as forest and shore cleanups.”
Many people want to leave their comfort zones and challenge themselves to something more profound than exploring a city’s historic sites or lounging by a hotel pool. These people drive the growing adventure tourism industry and come from various backgrounds. Balaram Tharpa of Nepal Hiking Team says there’s an emergent over 50s population, “who are becoming more adventurous seeking challenging and rewarding experiences.”
Still, travel industry experts notice that younger generations tend to make up most travelers driven toward these more active adventures. This is beneficial because Gen-Z tends to be much more aware of their environmental impact than other generations.
Finding places that are good for your budget can be very appealing. Still, it’s good to remember that many destinations geared towards tourists rely heavily on tourism to keep their economy flourishing.
“On one hand, adventure tourism can create jobs, support local businesses and incentivize people to protect natural wonders and resources,” says Kristin Kastelic, Marketing Director of the Nantahala Outdoor Center. “On the other hand, it could lead to pollution, littering, and damage to natural habitats. The key to ensuring the impact is more positive than negative is creating awareness of our environmental impact and putting nature at the forefront with a ‘Leave No Trace’ approach.”
The world is vast, and the number of destinations to explore and add to your bucket list couldn’t be achieved in a lifetime. However, travel industry experts suggest the following places are among the most popular with clients. The last few in the list are less well-known, making them more appealing as destinations not subjected to over-tourism.
When adding any of these to your bucket list, it’s wise to check out the information around current environmental concerns and see what you can do to help create less impact on your travels.
Queenstown, New Zealand
If you’re looking for a place with all the adventure tourism activities rolled into one, this is the place to go. If you’re a fan of the Lord of the Rings franchise, you’ll already know the staggering scenery, including snow-capped mountains and intricate winding rivers.
Queenstown offers various adrenaline-pumping activities, including bungee jumping, skydiving, skiing, jet boating, and whitewater rafting — to name a few.
Nepal has been a favorite of adventure-seekers even before active vacations were a thing. Trekking with a sherpa through the Himalayas has been a goal of many travelers, some with disastrous results — so it’s always essential to go with someone who knows what they’re doing. Nepal’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage make it a unique destination for those seeking a thrilling vacation.
Because half the monkey population has depleted because of tourism, travelers must be careful when considering their adventure choices here. With various terrains, this Central American destination offers adventure tourists zip-lining through lush rainforests, whitewater rafting, exploring volcanoes, and surfing. Choose your tour company wisely.
Even the thought of the Swiss Alps is enough to get your adrenaline pumping. Interlaken is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts where you can indulge in activities like paragliding, canyoning, skydiving, and skiing in the winter months.
Banff National Park, Canada
Banff National Park is one of the most famous regions in the world for outdoor enthusiasts in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. With breathtaking scenery, you can engage in hiking, skiing, snowboarding, canoeing, and wildlife spotting.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.