RISMEDIA, January 29, 2010—Adventure tourism is growing as fast as a zip liner on the fly. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Travel Industry Association of America, nearly one half of U.S. adults, or 98 million people, have taken an adventure trip.
That’s because the industry isn’t just catering to gutsy thrill-seekers anymore. Resorts now provide a wider array of activities targeted at mainstream travelers, a market that includes increasing numbers of two-income families, childless couples, single adults and members of the growing aging population. “Adventure tours have gone from 16% of passenger volume in 2001 to 50% for advance bookings this year,” writer Kirk Johnson said in a recent story.
Seniors are among the most surprising demographic of a new breed of adventure traveler. “Intensely active older men and women who have the means and see the twilight years as just another stage of exploration are pushing further and harder, tossing aside presumed limitations. And the global travel and leisure industry, long focused on youth, is racing to keep up,” Johnson says.
Industry mainstays are responding enthusiastically to this energetic trend.
Disney has launched its “Adventures by Disney” line of family-centered adventure tours. Hyatt now offers its “Adventure Hyatt” line of services at 18 resorts. Marriott, Rosewood and Starwood, all successful mainstream hospitality companies, are getting on the bandwagon by providing their customers with more adventure opportunities. This evident commitment to serving this growing tourism segment indicates a widely held belief that this is no passing fad, but a trend with longevity.
The Resort at Isla Palenque, a new resort real estate project in Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui, will key into this adventure trend by offering an impressive array of adventure opportunities on the island’s 400 acres of mature forests, lagoons and mangroves, and its surrounding waters. All kinds of water sports will be available, and visitors will have the chance to sight howler monkeys, jungle cats or tropical birds along six miles of hiking trails in the resort’s tropical forests. In addition, the resort plans to offer tree-climbing, a fashionable new adventure sport similar to rock climbing, using some of the island’s giant trees. “With the help of a couple of ropes, some basic knots and a little sweat, tree-climbing offers an adventure alternative with incredibly beautiful views,” says a blogger who posted his tree-climbing experience on Isla Palenque’s website (http://islapalenque.com/blog/2009/09/tree-climbing/).
“You could vacation here for weeks and still try something new every day,”
says Ben Loomis, President of Amble Resorts (http://www.amble.com/), an ecologically sensitive real estate development company. Loomis is preparing to break ground next year on The Resort at Isla Palenque. “On our island resort, you can hike in the tropical jungle, go tree-climbing up hundred-year-old trees, scale rocky bluffs, and walk in the treetops on a series of elevated canopy walks.” Loomis says the nearby Coiba and Gulf of Chiriqui National Marine Parks offer some of the most intense whale watching in the world. Other resort activities will include sea kayaking, sailing, boating, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and some of the best sportfishing in the world. Nearby day trips will offer canopy zip lining and mountain river rafting.
For more information, visit www.islapalenque.com.