The global adventure travel market—worth about $263 billion per year—is a growing niche being tapped by increasing numbers of smart travel agents.
Adventure travel appeals to anyone and everyone, as travelers can choose just how much thrill-seeking they’re comfortable with. So the customer base is large.
“[Adventure travel] can be anything—as simple as a special shore excursion, like whitewater rafting, kayaking, or flightseeing, or a complete adventure vacation,” said Nancie Svensen, adventure travel specialist and owner of the Nancie Svensen Agency in Mountain City, TN.
The destinations, too, come with a bigger ticket than traditional trips. Svensen said last year, the most popular destinations for her clients were Antarctica, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Costa Rica, and Cuba.
Shawn Fitzpatrick, manager of Marlin Travel in Ontario, agreed. His clients frequently ask about Iceland and Europe. “They want to see the world, not just go on a Caribbean vacation,” he said.
And then there are the extras. When it comes to adventure trips, clients want to indulge, Fitzpatrick said. His clients are buying more add-ons, like five-star accommodations, luxury river cruises or escorted tours, limos to the airports, and private shuttles. “People want to feel like they’re enjoying what they work for all year long,” he said.
Adventure travel trips also tend to bring together large groups in once-in-a-lifetime experience that people want to share with their loved ones. Often they are multigenerational, with grandparents suggesting a family vacation that is active enough to entice grown children and teenagers to come along. Svensen said she’s had grandparents booking for their kids and grandkids, and families celebrating milestones like a graduation or wedding.
Adventure travel also fits with the trends toward fitness and social responsibility, allowing travelers to maintain their health and wellness, and their philanthropic, goals while on vacation through adrenaline-rushing and muscle-building activities, as well as immersing themselves in the local culture. About 1.6 million people volunteer and take part in active vacations each year, according to the New York Times.
Adventure travel offers access to a large and affluent customer base, as well as the opportunity to sell add-ons and attract new customers traveling with those you already have. It’s a niche worth looking into.
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) offers online training courses and webinars. You can learn more about their programs here.