Adventure Travel Tourism Global Boom Shows No Signs of Slowing Down

adventure travel tourism

The adventure travel industry raked in $366.7 billion in 2022. The boom in adventure tourism is not isolated to families, couples, and friends; it includes the rise of solo female travelers and seniors worldwide. People of all ages seek travel experiences prioritizing wellness, being outdoors, and, most importantly — a digital detox.

According to a recent report by Allied Market Research, adventure tourism is projected to become a $4.6 trillion global industry in the next ten years. This is big news post-global pandemic recovery because 72% of travelers want to continue to travel.

The Rise of Solo Female Travelers and Guided Group Tours

Condor Ferries reports that 84% of solo travelers are women. Their data shares that 96% of women who have never traveled solo would go on a guided group adventure. The rise of guided trips is exploding worldwide. It includes rafting and yoga retreats, international hiking trips, self-guided road trips, and more. 

Guided trips provide peace of mind and safety for those wanting to step outside of their comfort zone and travel solo, experience fun adventures without buying all the gear, or are looking for ease of enjoying new domestic and international destinations.

Lisa Gudicello, a solo female traveler, shares her recent experience on an all-women’s yoga and rafting trip with Grand Junction Adventures in Grand Junction, Colorado, “The inherent wisdom of nature helps me reset from the busy world. Being part of a group of strong, courageous women, all with different backgrounds and stories to tell was incredibly uplifting and powerful. The time we spent together on the water, hiking, and doing yoga was truly transformative.”

Increase in Adventurous Senior Travelers

Women traveling 65 years and older increased from 4% in 2019 to 18% in 2022. Adventure travel destinations with guiding outfits, such as backcountry Mountain Trek in British Columbia, Canada, had a 324% increase in their 2022 season over 2019.

Following the pandemic, Mountain Trek saw their guest demographic had aged and sought a mindful approach to wellness. Their trips offer guests a trekking experience without caffeine, alcohol, or electronics, which supports its overall appeal as a holistic health retreat.

Are Millennials Influencing the Trend for Wellness Retreats?

Millennials are the largest group for wellness-related travel, which may influence the cultural norm.

Christina Bennett, Consumer Travel Trends Expert for Priceline, says, “Priceline’s research shows millennials are more inclined to book wellness trips than other generations.” 

Bennett continues, “They have graduated into the great recession and lived through economic crises and the pandemic. To cope with these stressors, millennials are turning to travel as a source of restoration to escape the pressures of living in an always-on world. This could be anything from a yoga retreat in Bali, hiking expeditions in the Alps, or even just a spa weekend getaway, wellness travel has become a key part of the millennial life plan.” 

Exotic destinations like Bocas del Toro, Panama, which used to be hailed a backpacker’s destination, are calling travelers due to their Instagram-worthy backdrops mixed with holistic healing, rejuvenation, and an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Ariel Barrionuevo, Managing Director of La Coralina Island House in Bocas del Toro, says, “Guided wellness trips are not just a journey through landscapes but a voyage within, especially for women. They serve as a beacon, guiding us toward self-discovery and empowerment while embracing the thrill of adventure. It’s where the spirit of exploration meets the soul’s need for rejuvenation.”

Self-discovery is a significant motivator for 34% of women polled by Opodo, a travel booking website.

Nature Driven Tourism

More and more travelers of all ages and walks of life are turning to outdoor recreation to spend their leisure time. Adventure travel tourism isn’t limited to guiding outfits and international trips. In 2022, Kampgrounds of America (KOA) said 58 million households camped at least once, pumping 52 billion dollars into local communities and economies in North America alone. And 15 million households enjoy RVing as their means of travel. 

A recent Campspot Outdoor Almanac discovered that 96% of campers say camping improves their mental health. The public is well aware that being outdoors is good for them.

Erin Stender, CMO of Campspot, says, “Researchers found that 120 minutes per week is an ideal starting point. That works out to as little as 17 minutes a day.” 

Stender also shares, “On top of the natural benefits of getting outside, there’s another practice we can do in parallel to amplify the positive effects: a digital detox. Excessive social media use can undermine people’s subjective well-being—how they feel “moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives.”

People seek solace in nature for affordable vacations and mental health; the great outdoors offers just that.

Complimenting Life With Healthy Outdoor Travel Experiences

While the global adventure travel tourism industry is projected to head into the trillions over the next ten years, solo female travelers, seniors, and millennials will continue to enjoy post-pandemic travel.

Whether domestically or internationally, the new-age travel mindset encourages people to live their best life through healthy, fun, and relaxing experiences incorporating the great outdoors.

This article originally appeared on Media Decision and was syndicated by The Happiness Function.

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.