Last updated: 04:00 PM ET, Mon August 29 2016

Trend Alert: Adventure Travel is Hot Right Now

Features & Advice | Virtuoso | Robin Amster | August 29, 2016

Trend Alert: Adventure Travel is Hot Right Now

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

An overwhelming 95 percent of Virtuoso travel advisors report seeing an increase in sales of active, adventure and specialty travel in the last year, according to a new survey from the luxury travel network.

Ninety-five percent of the advisors also said they believe the demand for this style of travel will grow in the next two to three years.

Conducted between February and April 2016, the survey findings are based on responses from 125 advisors and preferred partners who participated in the Virtuoso Active and Specialty Travel (VAST) program, a community of travel advisors and partners who want to expand their knowledge, networking and sales in this booming niche.

According to the survey, adventure travelers are seeking new off-the-beaten track destinations. Latin America—which combines natural and cultural attractions—is particularly popular. Remote, unspoiled destinations such as Antarctica and the Arctic are also sought after by upscale adventurers. 

The top adventure destinations are:

1.       Iceland                                                           

2.       Galapagos/Ecuador                                       

3.       Costa Rica and Chile/Patagonia (tie)              

4.       New Zealand                                                  

6.       Cuba

7.       Antartica

8.       Arctic/North Pole

9.       South Africa

10.    Australia


The top activities favored by active and specialty travelers are:

1.       Hiking/trekking                                             

2.       Biking                                                             

3.       Kayaking                                                        

4.       Small-ship expedition cruising                        

5.       Food and wine         

6.       Safaris/wildlife  viewing

7.       Walking

8.       Photography

9.       Scuba diving

10.    Arts and culture

The survey also revealed that all ages enjoy experiential travel:

 • The largest number, 41 percent, of adventure travelers are between 50 and 65

 • 24 percent are between 35 and 50

 • 21 percent are 65 and over

 • 14 percent are under 35

Couples, including honeymooners, are the most common type of adventure traveler. They are followed by immediate families, friends traveling together, solo travelers, and multigenerational families.

Respondents said several factors are driving the popularity of adventure travel including the desire to commune with nature, checking experiences off a bucket list, spending quality time together on family and multigenerational trips, and the ability of today’s older travelers to be more active given improved longevity and health.

Respondents also provided their top tips for adventure travel:

1.       Challenge yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone.

2.       Familiarize yourself with the culture of the destination by meeting the locals.

3.       Look at the world in a new way: gain a fresh perspective and possibly change an opinion.

4.       Travel now, because some of these destinations are rapidly changing fast.

5.       Don’t try to do too much; keep travel distances manageable and build in rest days and free time.

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