Does your destination serve up hair-raising attractions that make travelers feel alive? Or offer charitable opportunities that appeal to travelers with an altruistic bent? Hopefully, it wasn’t just the Ted Lasso reference in the title that caught your eye — this article is all about adventure tourism and voluntourism.
Today’s travelers have higher expectations and different agendas than the industry has seen before. They seek immersive, transformative experiences — not just luxury vacations. Although adventure tourism and voluntourism existed in the pre-pandemic era, both concepts have seen increased popularity since travel bans have been lifted near and far.
So … what the heck can your destination do about it? We’ll get to that later in this article with examples from fellow destination marketing organizations (DMOs), but first, let’s define these types of travel.
According to the Library of Congress, adventure tourism involves travel to remote or exotic destinations to take part in unique, adrenaline-filled activities. After the everyday bore of quarantine, today’s travelers have appetites for new, exciting, and unique experiences that are stronger than ever before.
There are two types of adventure tourism:
- Hard activities include intense and sometimes dangerous physical activities, like water adventures, mountain biking, caving, and climbing
- Soft activities include activities fit for any thrill-seeking traveler, like cycling, camping, water and snow skiing, dude ranches, and horseback riding
You, Elevated: Destination British Columbia
Destination British Columbia uses its website homepage to simply scream adventure. The hero image, combined with the phrase “You, Elevated,” promises “Life-affirming moments in BC's snow-capped mountains.”
The “Things to Do” navigation tab boasts winter activities, adventure and outdoor excursions, and attractions and sightseeing that are sure to pack any adrenaline junkie’s travel itinerary full of never-forget opportunities.
Awaken Your Adventure: Visit Colorado Springs
Visit Colorado Springs also uses its website’s hero image to make adventure tourists drool. The homepage invites travelers to “Awaken Your Adventure” in the incredible geological wonders of the world.
The “Things to Do” page prompts potential visitors to awaken their senses and plan their trip adventure-style. The landing page boasts regional experiences galore, including soaring above the Royal George and tackling award-winning rapids of the Arkansas River.
Your Advenure Awaits: Baja California, Mexico
Welcome to Baja California — home of destinations Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali, Rosarito. Tecate, San Felipe, and San Quintín. With many destinations to choose from, visitors have endless opportunities to eat their hearts out on adventure tourism.
The homepage of the website invites visitors to design their adventure. Here they can find the best spots for camping, maps for rock climbing, tips for when and where to witness sea life on diving excursions, and more.
Much like adventure tourists are seeking new journeys, voluntourists are on the lookout for new ways to mix philanthropy with vacationing.
World Vision describes voluntourism as a form of travel where travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for charities or mission groups. Voluntourists come from a wide range of ages and interests, and they travel from all over the world for humanitarian efforts. However, they all have the same goals: to travel with a purpose, make a difference in the communities they visit, and leave with life-long memories and a sense of satisfaction. According to a 2015 survey by Marriott Rewards Credit Card, 51% of Boomers, 68% of Xers, and 84% of Millennials said they were more likely to travel abroad to participate in volunteer activities.
Examples of voluntourism include projects related to:
- Health care
- Child welfare and orphanages
- Animal welfare
Inspired Moments in Meetings: Monterey County CVB
Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau has a CSR & Voluntourism landing page to help hardcore voluntourists to plan a jam-packed schedule of contributing. Not only do the options for volunteering seem endless for tourists — there’s also a downloadable flyer at the bottom of the page for those planning teambuilding activities while visiting Monterey for a conference or company event.
Give Back Getaway: Visit Florida
Visit Florida is one DMO that knows what volunteers are flocking to. Whether it be an urge to preserve the beautiful beaches or save the sealife, voluntourism thrives throughout the destination.
Visit Florida markets its voluntourism across its website, with helpful articles like:
- Voluntourism in the Keys
- Give Back on your Getaway! Voluntourism in Pensacola
- Miami Ecotourism Attractions and Activities
The crown jewel of the DMO’s website offerings for voluntourism is the landing page Voluntourism: Making a Difference on Your Florida Vacation along with the headline video "Florida Travel: Ecotourism in the Sunshine State" . In case you needed convincing that Florida isn't just for spring breakers … watch the video!
Many DMOs are giving adventure tourists something to be thrilled about, and voluntourists meaningful memories to make. Hopefully, these examples got you inspired to brainstorm what your destination has to offer.