Adventure tourism destinations urged to focus on authenticity
Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With the growing interest for the global adventure tourism market, destinations offering this product are urged to provide travelers authentic experiences, while ensuring that sustainable practices are in place, a regional travel industry group said.

“Today, there is a real thirst for authenticity of a destination, bound up with sustainability concerns including support for local businesses, reducing plastic consumption, community outreach and cultural sensitivity, especially in the adventure travel sector,” the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) said on its website.

“Adventurers used to prioritize personal challenges and individual thrills. Now that ‘authenticity’ ascends as the travel buzzword, they prefer to immerse themselves in authentic and local culture, from the history and traditions of the place to gastronomic routes and local products,” it added.

PATA said tourism providers in many countries have taken notice of this trend and are now providing different types of tourism products which create an authentic tourism experience.

It cited Australia as an example where tourists can participate in indigenous tourism activities such as traditional festivals, dances and guided tours, together with aboriginal Australians.

“Another example is the cookery classes offered in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, in which tourists have the opportunity to cook with a local chef using local ingredients, recipes and cooking techniques,” it added.

Apart from authenticity, PATA also identified sustainability as another trend in the adventure tourism market, citing a survey from Booking.com which showed that 72 percent of travelers makes more sustainable travel choices, and up to 73 percent of global travelers intend to stay in an eco-friendly or green accommodation.

“Not only do tourists today want to have unique, personalized journeys, they also want to create a positive impact when they travel,” PATA said.

Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry, with a global market valued at $586.3 billion in 2018, and projected to reach $1,626.7 billion in 2026.

To be able to capitalize on this potential market, PATA said travel providers need to keep up with the ever-changing trends of this growth segment.

“Adventure travel providers need to understand, first of all, that travel trends and travelers’ preferences keep changing from time to time. What works this year may not work next year. Tourism professionals therefore have to always stay ahead of the curve,” it added.

In line with helping the industry create more authentic and sustainable travel experiences for the adventure tourism market, PATA said it is conducting the PATA Adventure Travel Mart and Conference 2020 in February in Kota Kinabalu,Sabah, Malaysia.

The one-day conference will allow participants to discuss topics on sustainability and authenticity.

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