Key drivers of extreme tourism

Many of us have raw adventure in our blood. The sight of rugged landscapes and inhospitable wilderness wakes up the sleeping explorer in us. Most of us have a bit of Stanley and Livingstone in us. These characters have become legends. The characters who have lost almost a third of their expedition team to wild life and local tribal assaults and a sizeable portion of the entourage succumbed to diseases like yellow fever, sleeping sickness and incredible hardships of the voyage. Yet they succeeded in traversing the entire east- west length of the Dark Continent of Africa and made a name for them out of their unfriendly death-defying voyage.

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The wildest and most daring of the explorations definitely turn us on. For example, we like to see high adventure on the silver screen. Movies like the Jurassic Park, King Kong and the Poseidon Adventure had always fascinated us. For the same reason, documentaries on treacherous treks, high-risk sky diving and deadly shark encounters had always been popular among the audience. In this respect, National Geographic and Animal Planet channels had drawn hot cake viewership.

High adventure clippings had big hits in the box office. This is a clear indication of the fact that in the real world we would very much like to be a part of the daring expeditions. However, at the back of your mind you have a subconscious desire that you should get unscathed and unharmed in an expedition despite the world collapsing around you. You cherish a fervent wish to feel a disaster, absorb all the heat and enjoy the kick of a do or die spree. And yet the catastrophic consequences should not touch your life!

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A parallel line of thought applies in case of extreme tourism. The destination of your choice should promise you a wild adventure insured by some sort of guaranteed safety arrangement. You won’t hesitate to pack your luggage and book your next flight to your dream destination. You are driven by sheer thrill and feel a rush of adrenaline already pumping. At the same time, you look around for security.

The tourist needs to get assured of the combined elements of thrill, perilous sport and high adventure and safety measures in the same expedition package. The support of the government, ministry of tourism and the daring sports/excursion clubs should join in to make extreme tourism an attractive venture. The combined effort of the apex bodies would be the key drivers to extreme tourism. They should firmly establish a contact with the prospective client and turn on the key inside him; the key that would open up a vent to his quest for a risky expedition and challenging and daring sports.

Constant inspiration and encouragement should come in attractive packages. There is ample scope of marketing the potent appeal of extreme tourism. In the age of internet access when fast electronic media has its reach throughout the length of the globe in a split second, the gospel of extreme tourism would spread like wildfire. A word of caution, an accident or sabotage would largely tarnish the image of an extreme tourism destination.

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An impression is earned over the years by efficient service and close customer care. Every precautionary measure should be exercised to ensure the ventures are conducted in safe mode and well taken care of. The equipments, gears and gadgets should be put to periodical inspection to certify their safe and efficient workability. A regular monitoring of equipment stock to be done and outdated inventory replaced.

The pricing policy on equipment and excursion booking should be reviewed from time to time. The charges should be fair enough to justify the quality of a daring trip. The tariffs must not be set with an intention of deceiving the adventure buff.

The general infrastructural setup, the quality of accommodation, availability of good food and beverage has a definite say in driving tourists from all over the world. Equally important would be the existence of complementary sightseeing arrangements. For example, existence of a crystal clear lake surrounded by pristine greenery would be fine. An opportunity of a horse ride around the periphery of the lake would be an added bonus. It would be an exciting key driver too.

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However, the most significant driving aspect would be the availability of quality trained instructors or guides who would win your trust and take you through the extreme jaunt. Much of your success and safety would rest on how well the tour guide handles the situation. He should possess high technical knowledge and would teach an amateur tourist the correct method of maneuvering equipment for example a parachute or a paraglider, a motorcycle or a horse. His capability of efficiently reading a situation and managing crisis would earn him a name and fame for the destination as well. These factors would most certainly be the key drivers instrumental to the popularity rise of an extreme tourism destination.

Extreme tourism is, in fact, a wild extension of the traditional adventure tourism. It has added an exciting new dimension to the old concept. The dangerous stunts that the tourists did not have the guts to try in the past are now riding the helm of tourist acceptance. Tourist visit graph for extreme sport has made a sharp improvement over the past few years.

Extremely risky sports like micro lighting, tele-mark skiing, ice climbing, white water rafting, cliff jumping and power kiting have become hot pursuits. Now exactly what factors have driven tourists to these life risking sports is a thought provoking question.

One possibility is the stereotyped adventure tourism has become monotonous. The consumer desires a sharp evolution from the traditional typecast definition towards something more daring. He is insanely driven by a passion to try out something more dangerous and hostile!

Key driver to extreme tourism is also described by the specific tourist segment targeted. Research has revealed during the coming decade the tourist falling in the age group of 45 -64 years will be fiercely drawn by extreme tourism. This segment is health freak and always in the quest of new and exciting experiences. These combinations of factors provide a base for driving more and more tourists towards extreme tourism.

Borrowing money

Another factor is also quite significant. It is the economic potential of the tourist. The age group just described would probably be in a well off financial bracket. It is an undisputed fact that paying capacity of a tourist is certainly a key driver.

The legal aspects of a daring tour, the responsibility of the daring tour organizer and a risky ride provider could be key drivers as well. The tourist should not be under any false impression. He should have a clear cut idea of who is going to pay compensation for damages and injuries? The insurance aspects covering the risky tour should be clear and express. This could well be a key driver to extreme tourism.

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