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The Adventure In The Context Of Tourism Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 4068 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Adventure Tourism has known a rapid popularity during these last past decades. This rise and sudden popularity was partially thanks to a progression in the commercialization of outdoor recreation (Buckley, 2000, 2004a; Travel Industry Association, 2005) in (Buckley, 2007). Adventure travel existed since a long time; it began with early settler and has amplified increasingly since this period. The first adventure travelers were early explorers in quest of discovery, in the hunt for new resources, lands and looking for unknown places. ‘Columbus, Cook, Da Gama, Magellan and Raleigh’ are among the well known early explorers in quest of adventure (Swarbrooke et al, 2003: 41). Mercenaries were also characterized as early adventurers having as main interest money, risk seeking while some others like Pilgrims were looking for spiritual knowledge (Swarbrooke et al, 2003).

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Adventure tourism is currently receiving a lot of attention and is the fastest and fashionable growing sector of the tourism industry. It is perceived as being a niche segment and take in land, air and sea-based activities. Adventure travel is becoming well-liked and individuals are now striving to find equilibrium between work and leisure. Adventure travel has recently created a center of attention for the older people most precisely the baby boomers (Patterson and Pan, 2007). This new cohort born between 1946 and 1964 are getting engaged in new adventure activities. This tendency is principally due to a change in lifestyle, being financially secured than previous cohorts and having more time now that their children have left home. Baby boomers are pushed and pulled by different motives to engage in Adventure tourism. One can have the wish for new experiences, escape from the daily routine, baby boomers in today’s world no longer want to sit in a bus going for sightseeing they want to experience in the activity. Baby boomers can be soft adventurers in pursuit of easy-doing activities containing low level of risk like bird watching, horse riding or hard adventurers in quest of thrills, challenge and adrenaline.

Therefore, to better exploit the subject, research has been undertaken to explore and analyze what really motivate this generation to engage in adventure tourism, identify the different motivational factors, the types of activities they are more likely to participate in and their profile characteristics. Lot of research has been done on Adventure Tourism (Vester, 1987; Hill, 1995; Sung, 1997, 2000, 2004; Ewert and Jamieson, 2003; Beedie and Hudson, 2003; Gyimothy and Mykletun, 2004; Kane and Tucker, 2004; Weir, 2004; Flucker, 2005; Williams and Soutar, 2005; Cater, 2006; Page et al, 2006; Buckley, 2000, 2006, 2007; Patterson and Pan, 2007; Schott, 2007; Dimmock, 2009; Reynolds, 2012). Moreover there are some books of particular relevance to adventure tourism. These include Miles and Priest (1999) on adventure programming in outdoor recreation; Swarbrooke et al, 2003 on Adventure Tourism: The new frontier; Buckley (2006) on the structure of adventure tourism products and Patterson (2006) on Growing older, tourism and leisure behavior of older adults.

1.1. Problem Statement

Several studies have been written on adventure tourism, however no other studies apart from Patterson and Pan (2007) has been found on the motivation of baby boomers in adventure tourism. Most of the existing studies focus on adventure tourism from a general point of view (Vester, 1987; Buckley, 2006; Whiriskey and McCarthy, 2006) or look at different perspective such as Mountaineering and Adventure Tourism (Beedie and Hudson, 2003; Pomfret, 2006). Though, there is relatively little research neither on the motivation of people to engage in adventure nor on baby boomers. Ewert and Hollenhorst (1989) focused on adventure travel and its wilderness. Sung, Morrison and O’Leary (2004) investigate on the segmentation of adventure market by activities while Dimmock (2009) explored on the comfort in adventure and Reynolds (2012) studied on the motivation and lifestyle of surfing as an adventure travel.

Thus adventure tourism has been studied but through diverse perspectives and none apart from Patterson and Pan (2006) has focused on the motivation of Baby Boomers in Adventure. Subsequently to compensate this gap, this research will go deeper to assess those motivations that indulge baby boomers to participate in adventure tourism.

1.2. Aim and Objectives


The main aim of this study is to assess what motivate baby boomers to engage in adventure tourism.


Assess the socio-demographic characteristics of baby boomers.

To evaluate the trip arrangement factors of baby boomers

To differentiate between hard and soft adventure and identify in which type of adventure activities baby boomers are more engaged in.

Examine the push and pull factors that influence baby boomers in their choice.

Outline of Study

This study consists of five sections: the introduction, the literature review, methodology, results and discussion and conclusion and possible recommendations.

Chapter 1: The study starts with a brief description on the field of research. This includes an introduction on the expansion of the tourism industry, the emergence of adventure tourism in today’s world. It also includes the problem statement, aims and objectives of the research.

Chapter 2: The literature review is divided into two parts which is chapter 2 and chapter 3. Chapter 2 is the first part of the literature review. This entails the theoretical background; starting with brief definition of different terms namely adventure Tourism, baby boomers, the types of adventure tourism.

Chapter 3: The second part of the literature review lays great emphasis on the motivational theories; this chapter goes deeper onto the different motives that influence individuals in their choice for adventure.

Chapter 4: This comprises of the methodology, this explains how research was conducted, the questionnaire design, method used to collect the data, sampling techniques, the data analysis and limitations of the study.

Chapter5: This includes the results and discussions of the results

Chapter 6: The last chapter reviews all of what have been discussed in the research and ends with some possible recommendations

Chapter 2

2.0. Introduction

This chapter consists of the literature review; the literature review sets the theoretical framework of this study. Before coming to the definition of adventure tourism, the term adventure is first explained, entailing its core characteristics. This is followed by an explanation on the term adventure tourism and baby boomers, types of adventure tourism as well as a the different types of activities involved in adventure tourism.

2.1. Adventure

Adventure is all about action (Kane and Tucker, 2004). The term Adventure does not have a single definition. Adventure could mean different things to different people. What is Adventure for one can be routine for another (Weir, 2004). It varies from a vacation experience to a daily work life of an individual. In order to better understand the term adventure, it is crucial to pass on to its core characteristics; this is demonstrated in the figure below.

Figure 1: The core characteristics of Adventure

Source: Swarbrooke et al. (2003)

These characteristics effectively go over the main points of adventure. Swarbrooke et al. (2003) affirm that these characteristics are mutually dependent since one element can develop the stimuli of another. For instance, novelty may lead to new exploration and discovery, escape from daily life, a look for challenge, danger and risk and develop contrasting emotions.

2.3. Adventure in the context of Tourism

Tourists in today’s world are not the same as it was in previous years. In this day and age, tourists are desperately in pursuing momentous and unique experiences. They want active rather than passive participation, seek new sensation and change from their ordinary life (Moeran, 1983:17). Adventure tourism is the new emergent and niche sector of the tourism industry. This sector count up 15% of all leisure travel and this rate is going to enlarge in the coming future (Hawkins, 1994; Loverseed, 1997; Fluker and Turner, 2000).

Researchers has defined adventure tourism through diverse interpretation (Buckley, 2000; Bentley and Page, 2001; Hudson, 2002; Swarbrooke et al. 2003; Page et al. 2005). Amodeo (2004: 84) define adventure tourism as ‘travel to places that require a certain degree of effort and commitment to get and are about the experience and the journey rather than just a list of places visited or the level of luxury’. On the contrary, Muller and Cleaver (2000, p.156) define adventure tourism as ‘physically bracing, adrenalin-driven, somewhat risky, with moments of exhilaration punctuated by many opportunities to assess and reassess what has been done or accomplished’. As compared to Amodeo (2004), Muller and Cleaver (2000) definition of the term is mostly inter-related to the two constructs of perceived risk and perceived performance, where high physical ability and risk sensation is mended for it to be extreme and dynamic. Nevertheless, Weir (2004) argue that Adventure do not necessarily contain high level of danger, since there exist adventure with no element of risk or hazard. In the tourism industry, this is normally termed as soft adventure. On the contrary of the definition provided by the researchers, Swarbrooke et al (2003) state that Adventure tourism ‘is not defined according to specific activities that are undertaken, but more by the state of mind and approach of the participant’. This means that it is the personal interpretation and perception of individuals towards Adventure that will more clearly define the term.

Six major dimensions of adventure tourism have been developed by Sung, Morrison and O’Leary (1997) and these are namely activity, experience, environment, motivation, risk and performance. These components can be seen as major essentials for people to go for adventure travel. The activity and environment will consist of the physical location of the adventure travel, and this can be the natural environment. The experience will be the outcome to gain at the end, this can be self-achievement. Moreover, the motivation is all about the interest of the individual and endeavors to engage in adventure while risk and performance is a look for challenge and competence to do the activity. Adventure tourism takes in a range of activities and this includes air, sea and land-based activities (Hall, 1992; Fennel, 1999; Page et al. 2003; Pomfret, 2004; Gajda, 2008).This is illustrated in table 1.

Table 1: Conventional and contemporary adventure tourism activities

Land based

Water based

Air based

Mixed (land/water/air)



Body boarding


Adventure racing




Bungee jumping

Charity challenges





Cliff jumping

Conservation expeditions



Cruise expeditions


Cultural experiences






Gap your travel

Dog sledding




Hedonistic experiences



Scuba diving


Spiritual enlightenment






Wildlife watching

Horseback riding






Jungle exploring

Water skiing




White water rafting



Mountain biking

Wind surfing













Quad biking
















Snow boarding





Snow mobiling





Snow shoeing





Via Ferrata*





Wilderness experiences*







ۻBackpacking, climbing, hiking, mountaineering, skiing, via ferrata and wilderness experiences are all mountaineering-related activities

Sources: Hall 1992, Page et al. 2003, Pomfret 2004

2.4. Types of Adventure Tourism

Adventure tourism is composed of diverse types of activities which can fit to the need of different adventure traveler (CBI, 2011). Types of Adventure tourism can be categorized in two section which is hard and soft Adventure. The categorization of the Adventure tourism aspects diverge between researchers (Hill, 1995; Cloke and Perkins, 1998; Sung, Morrison and O’Leary, 2000; Ewert and Jamieson, 2003; Ryan and Trauer, 2004) in (Schott, 2007). For example, Sung, Morrison and O’Leary (2000) categorized the types of activities into six groupings including soft nature, risk equipped, question marks, hard challenge, rugged nature and winter snow (Beedie and Hudson, 2003). Several studieswere categorized in terms of activities and principally between hard and soft adventure and the researcher’s study will follow this trend (Hill, 1995; Millington and Locke, 2001; Ewert and Jamieson, 2003:69; Miller, 2003:2; Adventure Travel Society, 2003; Patterson and Pan, 2007). Table 2 present some examples of soft and hard adventure tourism.

Table 2: Examples of soft and hard adventure tourism

Soft adventure

Hard adventure

Wilderness jeep safaris

Climbing and mountaineering

Supervised and escorted trekking

Long distance back country trekking

Cycling holidays

Downhill mountain biking

Sailing holidays


Learning to surf and to windsurf

Heli-skiing holidays



Canoeing and kayaking

Source: Sung et al. 2000

2.4.1. Soft Adventure

Soft adventure can be defined as adventure activities that require low level of risk, low physical effort and obligation. These are activities usually undertaken by novice adventurers or people who want passive activities level, accompanied with experienced guides (Hill, 1995) in (Schott, 2007).

On the other hand, Goodnow (2005) described Soft adventure journeys as travel to new and exotic locations with low force activities. Some major examples of soft adventure activities are horse-riding, biking, hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, and animal watching, walking in natural areas, safari (Beedie and Hudson, 2003; Swarbrooke et al, 2003; Williams and Soutar, 2005; Patterson and Pan, 2006; CBI, 2011)

Generally, novice adventures engaged in soft activities due to the fact that they lack some experience, it can be misperceiving risk and their competence and perhaps choose soft activities because of a sensation of fear and hesitant and thus want to be on safe in a secured environment (Priest, 1999, p.160, cited in Miles and Priest; Pomfret, 2004).

2.4.2 Hard Adventure

Hill (1995) labeled hard adventure as activities requiring high level of risk, extreme commitment and superior and sometimes specialized skills. Hill also point out that hard adventures necessitate good skills in risky and dangerous situations.

Risk and competence are two major aspects involve in hard adventure activities. Those engage in hard adventure are generally in quest of challenge, adrenaline rush and risk(Peterson, 1989; Rubin, 1989; Mallett, 1992) in (Williams and Soutar, 2005). People have a desire to seek new sensations (Zuckerman, 1979), and are motivated by “challenge and mastery” (Ewert, 1985). These people are commonly known to be brave, skilled and having good physical intensity (Pomfret, 2004)

Some examples of hard activities are mountain climbing, bungee jumping, canyoning, caving, ballooning, parasailing, surfing and so forth.

2.5. Baby Boomers

Baby boomers can be defined as ‘a cohort of young-old people who were born between 1946 and 1964’. They are now aged between 48 and 66 years old in 2012, (Gillon, 2004) in (Patterson, 2006, p.15). The history of baby boomers dated from the period of the Second World War. Baby Boomer develops its name due to a growth in birthrate during the years 1946 and 1964 [1] . During this century, soldiers came back home from war and wanted to start a new life, build up a family, which show this sudden rise in birthrate (Ohio History Central, 2005). Statistics recorded 79 million births during this period1

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Another synonym for baby boomers can be ‘Lucky Generation’ (Mackay, 1997, p.60) in (Hamilton, M and Hamilton, C., 2006). The term ‘Lucky’ was used to describe them because they have grown up in the first generation enjoying a reasonably prosperous and serene society. Additionally, Hamilton (2006) point out that during retirement baby boomers will definitely have more money to spend after long years of hardworking and savings from pension plans. Baby boomers enjoy a better health than in the past; they are taking special care to their diet, though living longer and happier and more importantly being physically active by engaging in various types of leisure activities (Cochran, 2005; Sperazza and Banerjee, 2011).

Baby boomers are seeking new change and novelty; they no longer want to rely on repeat leisure program like bingo party, voluntary actions or mere leisure interests. These activities are getting outdated and this is not going to be in the interest of the baby boomers in retirement. As a result, Experts will definitely have to look at new leisure products, or programs that will attractenthusiastic, energetic participants rather than passive participant (Cochran, Rothschadl and Rudick, 2009).

2.6. Adventure Tourism and Baby Boomers

Adventure Tourism has become very popular during these last past decades. Adventure Tourism is considered as an alternative form of tourism. In today’s world, people no longer want to enjoy basic activities; they want to surpass the mass activities, being deeply in the thrill and excitement of the adventures.

The aging process has also altered intensely during these past years. According to Xola Adventure (2006), old people aged between 41-to-60 years old represent the greatest participating age category in adventure travel at a rate of 42.2 percent. This has emerged and is going to develop more in the future. When talking and thinking about aging process our first impression was ‘an inexorable slide into illness, impotence and immobility’ (Kraus, 2001). Nowadays, this image of the baby boomers is no more present. Patterson (2006) also shares his opinion on this change. She argues that this is a time of new experiences and feelings. Baby boomers need to feel they are free to do what they want or what they have always dreamed of and which were not fulfilled years before (MacNeil and Teague, 1987; Leitner, 1996; McGuire et al., 2004).

Adventure is not reserve for younger people, nowadays lots of people aged between 42 and 64 are being engaged in adventurous activities. Gone are those days where older people used to spend their leisure time in ‘sedentary and socially based activities’ like watching movies, listening to the radio (Lawton, 1993) in (Patterson, 2006: 7). Research has demonstrate that we are moving through an era where things are changing, habits of older people from previous generation differs from that of the present generation. Baby boomers see their retirement as being the time to refresh, experience novelty and new sensation. They acquire a feeling of freedom and harmony, do what they want, things that was impossible for them to accomplish perhaps due to overload of work, looking and caring for their children (MacNeil and Teague, 1987; Leitner 1996; McGuire et al., 2004).

Being more financially secure, in good health and physical condition, and also well-educated encourage baby boomers to engage in outdoor recreation activities. This enables them to feel at one with nature, physically fit and more importantly a way to feel they are still young.

Lipscombe (1995) in his research find out that lots of older adults are at present requesting activities that engage physical defy, not purposely danger but travel that have at least journeys, intellectual challenge, and involving the exploration of new places and cultures (Gibson and Singleton, 2012). It is to be noted that baby boomers are not seeking for simple and easy-done activity; they are looking for a certain degree of challenge and risk. They want to have fun, seek thrill, these can be a principle motive because they were too focus on their career years before, striving hard to cater for the needs of the family. All this was such a big responsibility that they now want to relax and enjoy, do something for themselves while children had grown up and get away in the routine they had imprisoned themselves for years.

Chris Doyle, vice president of ATTA point out from an interview with Airoldi (2008) that the’50-plus traveler’ is a major market for adventure sector; especially because they are among those who travel more frequently since they have the financial ability to do so.

Muller and O’Cass (2001) explore the different motive of older men and women in engaging in adventure activities. He note down that ‘young at heart’ older men were more interested to take part in activities such as white-water rafting, glacier hiking, rock climbing, caving and hot air-ballooning. On the contrary to the ‘young at heart’ older men, the ‘young at heart’ older women has a preference for mountain hiking, rainwater treks, bird-watching and walking for inner journeys while being on travel holiday. It is then observed that men prefer hard adventure activity as compared to women who enjoyed generally soft ones. A ‘Marketing to women’ report (2000) sustain such statement by arguing that women aged between 55 and 75 are more likely to engage in soft activities like safaris, hikes and trips to striking locations. They further point out to favor being in a secure environment with professional adventure providers, and with company of others having similar ages.

Adventure can be classified in certain words, ‘Play’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Reality’ (Kane and Tucker, 2004). The authors basically described adventure as a game played by participants in tourism; being free to engage in any particular activities and experiencing the reality of it. Moreover Kane and Tucker interpret the term ‘play’, as being a game for the adults, reliving their childhood and though enjoying this freedom to play like a child again. Hence, this fresh cohort of retirees is ‘hungry to get off the beaten path’ (Symonds, 1998).

2.7. Summary

From this chapter, the researcher has been able to gain a theoretical knowledge of the basic theories on adventure tourism and baby boomers. The different types of adventure tourism was examined, which is hard and soft adventure. The baby boomers generation was also defined, where proper information was gathered in regards to their lifestyle and their interaction in leisure and adventure tourism


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