ACS Distance Education UK
There needs to be a degree of challenge in an activity for it to be considered adventurous. A challenging event might have an element of danger, unknown outcomes and degree of difficulty. This will attract different participants to the activity based on their expectations and willingness to cope with challengers.
There also needs to be a perceived reward on completion of the activity. This is usually the sense of meeting a challenge and pushing themselves beyond their usual comfort zone. This is referred to as an intrinsic reward, as it comes from within. There may also be extrinsic awards such as a trophy. An example, would be gaining a place in a white-water kayaking race.
A sense of escapism is also important for an activity to be considered adventurous. This is why most adventure tourism operations occur in natural areas. In this way people can feel that they are really escaping from their normal lives. A person might experience heightened senses, an Adrenalin rush or a sense of calm following the experience. Again, it is important to remember that adventure can mean different things to different people. Sailing a boat around the Greek Islands may seem adventurous to some but not to others.
These activities form niche markets within the tourism industry based on the activity undertaken and their setting. They can vary in their “adventure” rating. Guided garden tours would be considered not to be very adventurous, whereas camping in the Andes would be considered extremely adventurous.
The remote location of many adventure tourist destinations can present problems:
Soft and hard adventurers
In Germany, bicycle tourism was adopted as a form of soft tourism. This became popular in most European Alpine regions. This type of tourism appealed to those who appreciate the environmental and cultural aspects of their experience. These tours are usually led by a guide.
The ways in which people view risks is dependent on the level of experience they have as well as the type of activity they are taking part in. For example, people with experience in mountain climbing activities perceived the risk as challenge and not a danger. Sometimes who is a novice may experience an uncomfortable fear at the risk perceived. Once this person builds on their experience in this type of adventure they will view the risk as a more positive risk.