What is adventure tourism?
We all like a bit of adventure in our lives, don’t we? That’s why lots of people are no longer content with holidays just chilling on the beach and watching the clouds float by. No, no, no, that would be far too simple! Far too civilised! We want action. We want paragliding, skiing, mountaineering and abseiling: the whole lot!
And who can blame us?
Of course, we need someone to keep us in line, someone to show us the ropes. We can’t just go abroad and start throwing ourselves out of planes and off cliffs. That would be mental. That’s where adventure tourism comes into play.
What do I need to be involved in adventure tourism?
A career in adventure tourism has got to be one of the most exhilarating paths you can take. You’ve got to be adventurous, confident, passionate, and perhaps a little bit nuts too. Furthermore, you will be keen to impart your wisdom and experience on others, so that they too can enjoy the thrill ride of adventure sports.
You could be doing absolutely anything, absolutely anywhere in the world: teaching rock-climbing in Australia, surfing in Malibu, or kayaking in Wales. The possibilities are endless!
Some of the most sought after positions include: tour guide, outdoor education officer and outdoor activity coordinator. You might be working in outdoor pursuit centres, holiday resorts, national parks or specialist adventure sport centres.
Regardless of the role you take on, it’s essential to obtain specialist health and safety training before making a foray into the industry. As far as skills and attributes are concerned, it’s imperative that you’re an absolute expert in your field. You really need to know your stuff, from top to bottom, inside out. If you’re leading a rock-climbing course, you need to be utterly in control of your own movements, so you can keep check on everyone else. On top of this, you need to be an excellent communicator with bags of patience. People will pick things up at different paces, so you’ll need to adapt accordingly.
Adventure tourism careers are quite competitive, so it’s important to try and keep ahead of your competitors. Get plenty of experience and volunteer where necessary. For example, if you’re a keen climber, a role at your local climbing wall will give you invaluable experience.
How do I get involved in adventure tourism?
A career in adventure tourism usually stems from building on your own interests in adventure sports. Surfing, snowboarding, mountaineering- anything goes, as long as you’re passionate about it!
Tour guides would be responsible for guiding tourists around certain landmarks or attractions. For example, if your passion is snowboarding you could be working as a ski-guide for guests in their resort, showing them the best slopes and where to go out for après ski drinks.
You’ve also got the option of becoming an outdoor education officer. These guys are very hands-on and instruct tourists on how to master a particular activity. For this, you’d need to be extremely competent in the field you’re working in. You can’t teach surfing if you can’t surf. It’s as simple as that, really! Not only do you have to be confident in your own ability, you need to have the expert ability to teach others.
So if the dare-devil pursuits of James Bond have you jumping out of your seat, shouting ‘I WANT TO DO THAT’, you may be exactly the wacky kind of thrill-seeker that would be perfect for a career in adventure tourism. Give it a go! What’s the worst that could happen…?