Close to the "edge" : Critical Issues for Adventure Tourism Operators

A.P. Williams, Geoff Soutar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been explosive growth in adventure tourism, with large numbersof consumers seeking novel, challenging and exciting adventure experiences while onholiday. Specialized adventure operators have emerged to cater for this demand, with adiverse range of commercialized activities now available. Adventure tourism demand ispredicted to grow at around 15% per year (Burak, 1998), and as demand grows, adventuretravel companies are urging consumers to go higher, harder, stronger and longer togain the “ultimate” experience. Unfortunately, despite this growing demand, symbioticallythere are large numbers of new companies joining the adventure industry and thisis putting pressure on resources. As a result, competitive market pressures are forcingadventure tourism operators to cut corners in order to remain financially viable, andissues such as sustainability of natural resources come to the fore.It is contended in this paper that many adventure tour companies are operating “closeto the edge” in terms of their operating practices, indicating a short-term perspective forthe industry. Adventure tour operators need to address the critical issues of: protecting thenatural environment; protecting tourists from potential risks; and protecting long-termmarket share through better understanding adventure customers’ needs and wants.If adventure tourism operators address these issues now, it will help to provide along-term and sustainable future for this sector of the tourism industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-261
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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