What´s the future of adventure travel like after the pandemic?
What´s the future of adventure travel like after the pandemic?
The lockdown that extends worldwide seems to be as a never-ending hibernation period for some of us. But, even under these unusual circumstances, where we humans are forced to change and adapt faster than ever, the future is promising for the adventure travel and outdoor industries. Challenging, of course, but promising anyway.
Is it our chance to rebuild the industry in a more sustainable and conscious way?
I tell you the answer to that question later in the article, but for now, let me say that many experts affirm that adventure travel is still in high demand.
I had the opportunity to talk to three adventure business and action sports managers and owners from Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, and they shared their views about how things could turn out in their corner of the world.
On the other hand, looking at our everyday life, probably you have noticed that during this quarantine, more people have started to practice cycling, trekking on the mountains, kayaking, paddle boarding, climbing, among many other outdoor activities that allow us to enjoy adventure and some company at the same time.
This is another positive sign that adventure and the outdoors are the perfect antidotes to fight against solitude and quarantine.
The future of adventure tourism is bright
Nowadays, if we look into the future, we can only see uncertainty, and the fact that in some countries people still aren´t moving around much makes things uphill. Even though, the future of adventure travel is bright.
Alison Madwitt, Assistant Director in SnowPerformance told me: “We think that the future of action sports and adventure tourism will be good. Even now with the many restrictions it seems that more people are trying to get outside, trying new things and, (where we live, outside of the big cities) we are seeing a lot more people coming to recreate, and purchase outdoor equipment”.
Following the same train of thoughts Fabio Sat, founder of Raffeish Turismo Aventura told us:
“What the tourists will be looking for is being out in nature, not going to closed places, for example, instead of going to a hotel, what people will look for is, perhaps, a cabin which is separated from the rest of the people, I mean, people will look for places where they can feel safe.”
Fabio Sat and José Miguel Chaparro Hernández founder of Living Dreams Mexico, agree on the idea that tourism will grow regionally, for example, from nearby states or provinces, it will be difficult for people to travel further.
The changes faced by the adventure travel industry
Adapting to security protocols is not an easy task, but there are already many countries and companies that have implemented new measures to rebound touristic activities and offer safety and trust to the adventurers who dare to give the first steps into traveling again.
Regarding the changes faced by the travel industry, José Miguel Chaparro Hernández (or Mike, how I prefer to call him) said:
“Definitely, things are going to change, I believe change will be radical, probably forever. Some things for the better, some things for the worse.”
On one hand, to be able to keep working, the first implemented changes were as to sanitization, cleaning, and the number of people allowed on a tour, in transportation or shuttle.
“All tour operators, have been making changes to comply with the procedures of the new sanitization rules.”
“What will be more affected, will be the tourism that comes from far away, I mean, it will be more difficult for people to come, in this case to the Riviera Maya, from Europe, The United States and even from Argentina, that tourism was massive in the Riviera Maya.” – Adds Mike.
“That will change, the groups will be much more reduced, and there will be an increase in private tours. Obviously, these are a bit more expensive, but those who are interested in the tour, but are a bit afraid, will pay for it. However, the tourists that can´t afford private tours are going to do the activities on their own.”
“Obviously, European, American, and other foreign tourists will continue to come, but it will take time for them to come until we get used to it and people come without any problem.”
One of the biggest difficulties faced by tourist operators is being able to keep the profit-earning capacity of the activities with reduced groups, but as Mike said this could be the chance to boost private tours.
Adapting to the changes is a lot of work, but new opportunities can come from that too.
Betting towards a more sustainable adventure travel industry
Many organizations around the world believe that post-pandemic tourism should focus even more on sustainability.
According to an article written in The New York Times, they propose moving towards a Regenerative Tourism.
¿What is it? You might think….
Regenerative tourism places a deeper look into the tourist activity and not only seeks to be environmentally sustainable but also it seeks to contribute to the development of the community receiving tourism and to the regeneration of the ecosystem. And of course, at the same time, being economically sustainable.
Although this idea may sound a bit utopian, if we give it a thought, the pandemic had us turning our gaze more into local places or things, for example, we started to travel nearby again, to enjoy those places that we no longer visited so much. Likewise, the fact that when we plan on buying something, we think about buying it from an entrepreneur or a local travel agency, are small examples of that regenerative tourism that is aimed at.
To sum up, the challenges the adventure travel industry has to face looking forward are many, but if the pandemic has made something clear is, on one hand, the basic need to interact with other humans, the well-being that we receive from doing activities in natural environments, and on the other hand, the fact that, rebuilding, not only the tourist sector, requires interconnected collaboration from all over the world.
For this reason, it seems important to me to open up communication channels and keep ourselves informed of the trends, innovations, and advances that occur in different parts of the world.
And while we wait for things to calm down to receive foreign tourism again, we have time to start connecting with potential clients, inspire, motivate, and tell them how we do things around here.
I hope you already know that if you want to open up your doors to Spanish-speaking clients, have a website that converts more or have a blog to reinforce your brand image on the internet, you can count on me and I’ll spread the voice!
Today, more than ever we have to be connected, and I mean, truly connected.