What’s Adventure Tourism?

Do you know about adventure tourism? Adventure tourism is a form of tourism that focuses on culture, nature, and activities. It emphasizes the importance of gaining knowledge or learning through experiences, rather than just taking a trip. Adventure travelers are often described as kind, respectful individuals who can harmonize with the local community. They also tend to spend a significant amount of money within the region, with only about 4 adventure tourists spending what 100 cruise ship tourists might spend.

So, what specific tours fall under adventure tourism? Allow me to share an example from the recent Adventure Tourism World Summit (ATWS) held in Hokkaido, Japan. The theme of the tour was the nature of the Mt.Daisetsusan and Ainu culture. The region is known for its abundant produce, such as delicious rice and vegetables. To learn about the area, activities like cycling and hiking were organized. Of course, participants also enjoyed delicious local cuisine made from regional ingredients. Furthermore, unique cultural exchanges with the Ainu people were incorporated. In essence, the concept is to explore and experience nature and culture that one might not be familiar with through various activities.

Is it possible to implement such a concept on Amami Oshima Island? Amami Oshima Island boasts natural assets like the World Heritage site and the National Park, as well as cultural elements such as Oshima Tsumugi silk fabric, brown sugar shochu liqeur, traditional cuisine, and festivals. I believe that by utilizing these assets effectively, it’s possible to conduct adventure tour.

Now, what are the potential benefits of doing this in the region? This is where it gets crucial.

I see three main benefits:

1. Increased local spending: Adventure tourists often stay in local operated accommodations, participate in regional activities, and enjoy dishes made from local ingredients. This maximizes the amount of money that remains within the region.

2. Avoid over-tourism: Adventure tourism is characterized by their focus on customer care. This naturally leads to smaller, exclusive tour groups, which may command higher prices but offer high-quality experiences. By emphasizing quality over quantity, the burden on the region from an influx of tourists is reduced.

3. Conservation of nature and culture: Adventure travelers typically have a strong interest in nature and culture and are proactive in conservation efforts and sustainable use. They might become valuable allies in preserving the region’s natural and cultural assets. Furthermore, when existing natural and cultural assets can be harnessed as tourism resources, there may be less need to destroy them to build new structures.

In this way, adventure tourism offers potential solutions to issues such as over-tourism, environmental and cultural preservation, and addressing poverty in rural areas.

Finally, in my opinion, simply raising prices and guiding customers won’t guarantee success. When discussions about adventure tourism arise, it’s easy for the focus to shift solely to high added value and high unit prices. However, success lies in having a mission for the local community, understanding customer needs, and setting prices accordingly. Only then does true value emerge. While there is still much to learn, I believe that adventure tourism will become the future of tourism in the next era.