Adventure tourism: a growing market

Adventure tourism has grown exponentially worldwide. It is one of the fastest-expanding tourism sectors, and with the post corona opened borders, the opportunities are endless. While a precise evaluation of adventure tourism’s global economic value is not a clear task due to its unrefined scope, its monetary and non-monetary benefits have been highlighted.


Adventure tourism involves adventurous and physically challenging activities, such as hiking, trekking, mountaineering, rock climbing, rafting, and so on.

According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global adventure tourism market size was valued at $586.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $1,626.7 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 13.3% from 2020 to 2027. This indicates a significant growth potential in the adventure tourism industry.

What are the drivers of this increased demand? The UNWTO (2014) suggests that increased urbanisation and digitalisation are pushing travellers to seek active, authentic experiences that highlight natural and cultural values. The adventure tourism industry therefore provides much sought-after escapes as well as ecological, cultural and economic benefits to destinations (Janowski, Gardiner, & Kwek, 2021). 

Indeed, adventure tourism contributes greatly to local economies: approximately two-thirds of the money spent on adventure travel stays on location. This is approximately €350 per day per visitor on average (CBI, 2021).

Additionally, it creates job opportunities and generates revenue for businesses in the tourism sector. According to a report by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure tourism generates $683 billion in annual revenue and supports 41 million jobs worldwide.

These benefits include attracting high-value customers, the encouragement of sustainable practices, and support of local economies due to low economic leakage (Adventure Travel Trade Association, 2016; UNWTO, 2014; Janowski, Gardiner, & Kwek, 2021).

Additionally, the growth of social media platforms has also contributed to the popularity of adventure tourism, as more people seek to share their experiences on these platforms.

In conclusion, adventure tourism is a rapidly growing industry that offers unique and thrilling experiences for travelers. With growing interest in outdoor activities, and a wide range of adventure tourism options, the market is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.

Main bibliography

  • Adventure Travel Trade Association. (2018). 20 Adventure Travel Trends to Watch in 2018. Retrieved from
  • Beckman, E., Whaley, J. E., & Kim, Y.-K. (2017). Motivations and experiences of whitewater rafting tourists on the Ocoee River, USA. International Journal of Tourism
  • CBI. (2021). The European market potential for adventure tourism. Retrieved from.
  • Cheng, M., Edwards, D., Darcy, S., & Redfern, K. (2018). A tri-method approach to a review of adventure tourism literature: Bibliometric analysis, content analysis, and a quantitative systematic literature review. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 42(6), 997–1020.
  • Janowski, I., & Reichenberger, I. (2019). Conceptualising Adventure Tourism from a Consumer Perspective. Paper presented at the travel and tourism research association 2019 international conference.
  • Janowski, I., Gardiner, S., & Kwek, A. (2021). Dimensions of adventure tourism. Tourism Management Perspectives, 37/2021, 1–11.
  • Sung, H. Y., Morrison, A. M., & O’leary, J. T. (2000). Segmenting the adventure travel market by activities: From the North American industry providers’ perspective. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 9(4), 1–20.
  • UNWTO. (2014). Global Report on Adventure Tourism. Retrieved from.