In the past year my attention has been caught by the number of articles dedicated to adventure travel, and the rapid growth of this travel segment. I must concede, this may well be a case of ‘seeing what I want to see’, given that I am obsessed with adventure travel and exploring, and even more so when this obsession is shared with family and friends. Occasionally I come across a post which resonates with me, both professionally and personally, and none more so than a post which appeared on the Adventure Collection website and specifically an article written by Wendy Worral Redal.
Wendy discusses 5 trends shaping the future of adventure travel, and whilst they are all equally interesting, I found 3 of them which would apply specifically to South Africa;
Green is great, and ecotourism is growing. Grandparents, parents, and kids traveling together. Keeping it authentic, no ‘disneyfication’.
Wendy goes on to explain that her sources, including the World Tourism Organization, support her assertions that adventure travel grew 65% year on year from 2009 to 2013. This market is expected to grow from 1 billion travelers to 2 billion travelers in the next 15 years. The WTO predicts that 1,6 billion Eco-inspired trips will be taken between now and 2020. Travelers are seeking out experiences which are authentic, sustainable, responsible and beneficial, and failure to uphold these guiding principles will be ignored by this growing market.
It is often grandparents who are driving family adventure travel, often including 3 generations, with African safaris being a popular multi-generational option. Research is showing that there is a tendency towards authentic experiences away from the traditional ‘check list of hot spots’ approach. Travelers prefer to be guided by, or at least in the company of, someone who is native to the area, supporting their desire to explore nature, culture, and history. Feel free to read the whole article here.
Adventure Travel in South Africa
In my opinion adventure travel to South Africa is expanding at a rapid rate, and whilst this may not be the only reason inspiring visits to our country, it is certainly receiving an increasing share of holiday itineraries. Initially experiences are sought out which represent as little deviation as possible from the routes connecting hot spot to hot spot. As the profiles of these adventure experiences grow, travelers are likely to deviate further and further from the well-worn tourism highway.
Pioneering adventure travelers inevitably cut a trail for discerning travelers, and along with them, the opportunity to establish premium hospitality and activity solutions.
It is in my opinion that we are on the cusp of seeing the introduction of authentic, responsible, sustainable, and beneficial tourism products aimed at discerning travelers.
There is an interesting article Tourism Update, and well worth a read on this emerging travel trend, and variations of it.
You may also like to visit Adventure Travel Trade Association.