The Covid crisis has certainly shrunk our horizons, to say the least. Farewell to treks to the other side of the world, 1,000-mile road trips and safari photos taken in exotic surroundings. From now on, changes of scenery are right next door and the great escape is ready in just a few hours. Welcome to somewhere near you for the latest in adventure tourism.
Adventure tourism: experience first.
Listen carefully. The adventure we are talking about involves emotional and physical experiences rather than dangerous expeditions. The idea is to leave behind well-trodden tourist trails in favour of memorable moments created through rich, intense encounters. A few years ago, AIRBNB paved the way by promoting activities offered by its hosts. Be it calligraphy, a cooking class or dance. The idea was to get as close as possible to “real life”. With the lockdown, this trend has not only gathered pace, but has given rise to new ideas and practices.
Adventure tourism on your doorstep.
Closer, cheaper and more in tune with nature and the environment… adventure tourism, or microadventure, is characterised less by the destination than by the quest for unique experiences. If you look closely, the adventure tourism spots are everywhere…if you just take the time to find them! A downriver paddle, a weekend bike ride, or more adventurous, a barefoot walk in the snow or an escape game in a cave. The most daring tries their hand at Urban Exploration (or Urbex). It’s the latest craze that encourages adventurers to venture into disused sites…old factories, derelict hospitals, abandoned manor houses…Thrills guaranteed. But while the practice is not illegal, it’s not exactly authorised. Fortunately, new players are emerging to manage the new trend.
The new adventure tourism platforms.
CHILOWE, HELLOWAYS and THE OTHER LIFE are their names and what they all have in common is that they offer unique, local experiences that are, more often than not, Instagrammable! HELLOWAYS offers 100% nature walks accessible without a car. So you can walk there or take the bus or train. The routes are available for free but there is a paid option to access two day walks and other exclusive services (such as real time GPS tracking and advice from a hiking advisor). In the context of the Covid epidemic it responds perfectly to the growing need of urbanites and those in sedentary jobs to break up their daily routine. Tourism is heading in this direction and it raises the question of the meaning of tourism as well as the role of travel agencies at a time when the industry has a decreasing need for intermediaries.
The Main Think
For many sectors the Covid crisis has been an eye-opener and tourism is no exception. Ultra-local, it is now refocusing on short stays where experience is the key. Microadventure tourism could well become a part of everyone’s holidays in future.
Crédit photo : Helloways, Hérault tourisme, Les Echos, iStock