History of extreme tourism

Extreme tourism ensues in a rush of intense excitement which almost drives you crazy until you have accomplished your testing voyage. This desire is inherent in us. The degree may vary from person to person depending upon his genetic makeup and the environment he has been exposed to since infancy.

Adventure travel is one of the forms of extreme tourism. It is an act of traveling to isolated spaces or natural environment aiming specific adrenaline rushing physical activities and exploration of the new place. According to UNTWO, historically adventure and travel have been entwined since centuries as we come across the adventure stories of Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus and James Cook.

The creation of The National Geographic Society in 1888 provided an impetus to extreme tourism which gained popularity among the modern age travelers.

Interesting fact behind the history of extreme tourism:

From the very inception of the human race coming into to existence, the drive for wild adventure and death flouting sports has always captured his predilection. Extreme tourism and extreme sports have included a variety of dares from early days. Sports and ventures like Bungee jumping, mountain biking, mountaineering, paragliding, bush walking and sea surfing are only a few examples among many.

Hatch river exploration set by Don Hatch and his brothers in 1953 was the first commercial business for extreme tourism having National Park concessioner permit for rafting. Following this, other influential adventure tourism or extreme tourism companies came into existence like Ker and Downey in 1946, Micato Safaris in 1966 and OARS in 1969 as reported by UNTWO.

History of different forms of Extreme Tourism:

Bungee Jumping:


Bungee Jumping was actually a maturity ritual for the male. The jump from a sheer height of around 30 meters marked the journey from adolescence to adulthood. It was a courageous act to let one go off such an incredible altitude with only a length of liana fastened around the ankles. Sometimes the boy sees success and sometimes doom.

According to a myth far off in the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, a tribal girl climbed up a tall tree to escape the fury of his envious husband. Meanwhile, she secretly fastened her ankles with strong bush vines and waited for the fuming hubby who followed her up into the tree.

Before the man could touch her she leaped from the branches followed by the husband who jumped as well. While the woman was suspended midway in her fall entangled by the creepers the man straight went down to meet his maker.

Thus, the daring sport of bungee jumping was born. Later in 1985 two friends Chris Sigglekow and A J Hackett pursued their death- defying passion for the jump using elastic ropes. There were a lot of experiments and improvements on the technique of the jump and the material of the fastener. Many valiant jumpers had tried their luck and pluck over the years. There were stories of both success and failure. There has been a historical evolution of a daring sport, which was initially started among the tribal population of the South Seas.

Mountain Biking:

Mountain Biking

Modern mountain biking has a long chequered history as far back in the 1950 s and 1960 s. The thrill of the rough bumpy rides and racing along sharp meanders did enough for an ecstatic adrenaline surge! Still earlier way back in 1896 there was a mountain biking expedition by Buffalo soldiers from Montana to Yellowstone all along the rugged and rocky landscape.

Throughout the 40s, 50s and 60s there was a sharp rise of the trend in mountain biking, and heavy duty cruiser bikes invaded the scene. Off the normal track rides and stunts, freewheel turned immensely popular. Mountain biking, which is certainly a risky ride, offered scopes of extreme adventures right from the beginning of the 20th century.



Paragliding had been both a daring and entertaining sport as early as in 1952 when Domina Jalbert worked on a model of a chute for sideways soar through the air. The gadget had monitoring latches to guide its movement. Back in 1961, Pierre Lemoigne, a French engineer improved on the designs, and paragliding trips met a roaring applause from those watching their heroes soar. Both in America and in Europe this sport became trendy among dangerous sports buffs. Paragliders took off cliffs into the sky and the glides triggered enough thrill to be included under extreme sport!

Exploring inhospitable terrains

bush walking

The concept of walking through inhospitable terrains for a continuous stretch has also been developed far back in the eighteenth century. The changing landscape however difficult and hostile it might be fascinated man. His spirit for the wild adventure was given wings. His love for the long ramble through nature in all its rugged, trying and unfriendly form was, in fact, seen as an expression of romanticism.

Australian bush walking was an old concept too. Long walks through wild outback with the relentless sun burning overhead with blazing fury were loved by nature lovers. Long walks were organized, and walkers willingly participated in the ordeal. The concept has been a history now.

Back in the year 1778, an English cleric named Thomas West first organized a long ramble through the lake districts. These walking tours initially feels pleasant but gradually turns out challenging and difficult as you put more and more kilometers behind you!

Storm Chasing:


Storm chasing could be well included within the purview of extreme tourism. It is a dangerous passion that drives an adventure enthusiast in pursuit of rough weather conditions like tornados and devastating twisters. Apparently it is crazy but for the storm chasers it is entirely an element of euphoria.

The intense pleasure triggered off could only be shared with likeminded adventure hunters. It is the American David Hoadley to whom the credit of first authentic storm chasing was bestowed upon. Born in 1938, this pioneer storm chaser was recorded to have been after the powerful North Dakota storm way back in 1956.

His efforts were well organized and scientifically planned on technical facts and figures collected from the Bureau of weather forecast and from airport weather offices. He was the father of storm chasing madness and founded the storm track periodical.

No less credit goes to Neil B Ward who brought storm chasing officially to foreground as a regular adventurous enterprise with zeal. That was way back in 1950s and 60s when he sought assistance from Oklahoma highway patrol to get an insight into the pattern and behavior of the most menacing storms.

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Dr Prem Jagyasi and Editorial Team

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography. The Content is managed by Editorial Team.

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