India is purposefully located and it has remarkable natural and cultural tourist resources and wealth, adventure tourism within the country has been gaining prominence. It is the right time to positively tilt the tourist inflow by encouraging new and emerging forms of tourism. Adventure tourism has been acquiring recognition within the country and is being considered to be one of the highest foreign exchange earners in the future. Most of the states have identified locations for development of adventure tourism, generally depending upon their natural wealth. The Himalayan states, coastal areas, hilly and mountainous areas, water bodies, desert of Rajasthan, desert of Ladakh, national parks and sanctuaries are some of the potential areas for the development of adventure tourism. India has been a cultural tourist destination for many decades and in the present, it has been transformed into an adventure tourist destination, for the nationals as well as the international travellers (Singh, & Singh, n.d.). India makes provision of a varied and diverse forms of adventure opportunities. The individuals take pleasure in the different forms of adventures. These include, heli-skiing in the high Himalayas to river-rafting in the prominent rivers of the country, such as, Ganga, Indus and so forth. The other adventurous forms include, hang-gliding and ballooning over
the India plains to camel safaris in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan; chasing the elusive tiger, while riding on elephants and trekking in the Himalayan ranges. Apart from these, there are number of adventures that individuals take pleasure in within the country. The 7,000 km long coastline of the country also makes provision of an opportunity to the individuals, who take pleasure in adventure on the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean. The main aspect of leading to an improvement in adventure tourism within the country is, increase in the accessibility to rural and remote areas (Singh, & Singh, n.d.). Adventure tourism is classified into three forms. These are, land-based, air-based and water-based. The land-based activities are, all-terrain vehicle tours, bungee jumping, cycling tours, camel safaris, horse safaris, jeep safaris, motorcycle tours, mountaineering, nature walks, bird watching, rock climbing, artificial wall climbing, abseiling, personal light electric vehicle tours, skiing, snowboarding, trekking, wildlife safaris, zip wires and high ropes courses. The water-based activities are, kayaking, sea kayaking, rafting, river cruising, scuba diving, snorkelling and water sports centres. The air-based activities are, hot air ballooning, para-gliding, para-motoring, para-sailing, skydiving, air safaris and kite boarding (Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines, 2017). The individuals get involved in various forms of adventure tourism, either on their own, or with a group of other individuals. Normally, there is a link between adventure tourism activities and sports activities. The various forms include, vehicle tours, bungee jumping, cycling tours, diving, swimming, rock climbing, wall climbing, high rope courses, skiing, snowboarding, trekking, rafting and other types of water sports. To get engaged in these activities, the individuals are required to possess adequate skills. They need to obtain proper training from the experts, who are proficient in the area. When individuals are getting engaged in any of these activities, they are usually accompanied by friends or relatives. The health conditions of the individuals are regarded to be of utmost significance. They need to keep themselves healthy and fit and not experience any ailment. Usually, the individuals get engaged in practice sessions and when they feel that they would be able to get engaged in adventure tourism activities, then they plan the tourism. The other types of adventure tourism activities such as, safaris usually are also regarded as the ones that individuals get engaged in for leisure or recreation purposes. During the course of safaris, one is able to observe wildlife and in this manner, adventure tourism and wildlife tourism are carried out simultaneously. Generally, when one gets involved in adventure tourism, one is not only able to enhance his abilities and skills regarding the task, but is able to observe the natural environmental conditions. One is able to explore the
environment, observe various species of birds, animals, trees, plants etc. The individuals get engaged in adventure tourism, not only in India, but in other countries of the world as well. When one is getting engaged in adventure tourism, one needs to possess the interest and enthusiasm and be adequately prepared for it. In some cases, individuals develop fear and vulnerability, when they are getting involved in adventure tourism activities. Hence, being accompanied by a professional leader and group of other members, help in making the tourism efficacious and worthwhile. Significance of Adventure Tourism In 2012, global tourism arrivals passed the one billion mark. As one of the rapidly increasing sections, adventure tourism arrivals increased as well. In 2010, ATTA, the George Washington University (GWU) and xola consulting, conducted the first market study. The global value of adventure tourism was at USD 89 million. In 2013, it was found that there was an increase of 195 percent in two years, making the sector worth USD 263 million. A research study indicated that 42 percent of the travellers departed on adventure trips. The UNWTO forecasts, by 2013, arrivals in emerging economies will surpass those in the emerging economies, which will in addition increase to 57 percent arrivals in the emerging economies by 2030. This makes provision of numerous opportunities for India, which has incomparable destinations for exploration and experience. There are soft and hard adventure activities within the country that can be carried out by any traveller. Adventure tourists also pursue cultural and environmental aspects of the destinations they visit. These can significantly facilitate economic opportunities for the local people, residing in rural and remote areas within the country. The states include, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, North East India, etc. Apart from sustainable development of the local communities, adventure tourism promotes socio-economic and cultural development of the region (Adventure Tourism Market Study, 2016). Adventure tourism is an energetic, vibrant, active and a sector that is undergoing transformations and changes on a rapid scale. Adventure activities around the world are numerous and differently adapted to the available local and natural resources and entrepreneurship. Throughout the world, the visit destinations of the tourists are implemented, and based upon number of purposes. Tourists could be adventure enthusiasts for a particular sport or activity. Therefore, seeking adventure trip one after the other or maybe, seeking a new activity in every trip, while exploring newer places and destinations is an integral part of adventure tourism. Adventurers could be the individuals, who may not take
interest in commercial support to carry out a task or an activity, and may look for challenging and unapproachable locations (Adventure Tourism Market Study, 2016). Adventure Tourism as an Integral Part of World Tourism Outdoor adventure usually is based upon various factors. These mainly include the needs and interests of the individuals, who are involved in various types of adventures. Apart from the needs and interests, the individuals need to have various expectations and motivations. They need to take into consideration, the climatic conditions, use proper gear and equipment and their safety. The adventure tourism has been emerging into one of the rapidly growing segments of the tourism market. It has become so popular that approximately 100 million adults have made the selection of vacations that are classified as soft adventure. In the past, the tourism industry has put emphasis upon young, and wealthy adventure tourists. However, this is gradually changing as marketers are becoming more aware of the vigorous and adventurous tourism. It has been recognized that individuals over the age of 50 are more adventurous as compared to their parents, and they are often determined to ascertain new destinations and make an attempt towards new and exciting leisure activities. Adventure travel is acquiring more popularity among the urban individuals (Dutta, & Dutta, 2013). In accordance to the Global Adventure Travel Trade Association (USA), adventure tourism may be regarded as any tourist activity, including two of the following three components. These are the physical activity, a social interchange or collaboration, and involvement with nature. In adventure tourism, the individuals make an attempt to develop a close connection with the natural environmental conditions. In order to establish a close connection, it is essential that they should develop an interest and enthusiasm. In some cases, adventure tourism is also regarded as simply exploring the nature. It is considered as an outdoor leisureliness activity that normally takes place in an uncommon, unusual, and remote environment. In some cases, it involves some form of progressive and exceptional means of transportation and tends to be associated with physical activities, which may be low or high in intensity. When individuals get involved in adventure tourism, then they usually generate awareness regarding the environment and how should it be preserved. Adventure tourism involves various activities such as, physically bracing, adrenalin- driven, somewhat risky, with moments of exhilaration punctuated by many opportunities to assess and reassess what has been done or accomplished. An indispensable constituent of adventure tourism is travelling to uncommon, interesting, and remote destinations. Activities, experience, environment, inspiration, menace, and capability were recognized as principal
scopes that often characterize the traveller’s perception of adventure travel. Examples of adventure activities are white-water rafting, horse riding, hiking, skiing, and scuba diving, mountain biking, backpacking, and camping. The main adventure tourism activities include, mountaineering, rock-climbing, diving and swimming, water activity, trekking, beach adventure, natural beauty and wildlife adventure (Dutta, & Dutta, 2013). Adventure Tourism in India The Indian sub-continent is regarded as the home to the highest mountain ranges in the world. These are the Himalayas and they have continuously held a demand for the travellers from throughout the world. In addition to the geographical diversity of other parts of the country, the other areas are the Western Ghats, the Thar Desert, the Rann of Kutch, the Eastern Ghats, the Konkan coast, hills, mountains, natural environmental conditions and the central Indian plateau region, wildlife, coast and islands, rivers. The country has a surplus of adventure activities to provide for across a wide range of sections within the adventure space. Adventure in the Indian subcontinent was assisted by the early mountaineers and explorers from Europe to the Himalayan regions during the colonial rule. A majority of them assumed under the patronage of the country’s rulers as a means of discovering new avenues in their imperialistic ambitions, as well as instituting political supremacy by tapping the ethos of national pride through such expeditions (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). The socio-economic benefits to the rural economy by adventure travel has been a constant feature of the sector, irrespective of the political and economic conditions. During the post-independence period, the frequency of adventure travel lost some impetus and was restrained to the province of prosperous adventurers owing to the heavy cost of travel and the complexities involved in travelling to remote regions. The Government too, in the initial years, put emphasis upon up-grading the nation’s economy through the primary and secondary sectors, and major emphasis was put upon in promoting the historical and cultural heritage of India. The thriving in the adventure tourism sector can in part be accredited to the economic growth post, especially around the new millennium based on the rapid augmentation of the information technology sector (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). As economic growth implied that the travellers, especially the youth segment, who are more drawn into such activities and have a higher travel inclination, had more disposable income, and could afford the moderately higher costs involved in adventure and nature based products. Adventure tourism infrastructure also has a major role to play in religious tourism, as a considerable number of the popular religious sites like the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand
are located in remote locations, and require a high level of technical expertise to deal with the large amount of pilgrims in ecologically sensitive environments. Not only this, inbound as well as adventure travellers have a strong tendency to make an addition of socio-cultural or historical extensions to their core adventure itinerary, and thereby, complementing other niches as well (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). Government Initiatives The Ministry of Tourism also documented the potential of the niche, especially since the adventure tourism would take within its folds the emerging forms of maintainable, supportable and responsible tourism. By the nature of the product, adventure tourism puts emphasis upon minimizing the influence upon the socio-cultural as well as the natural environment. It involves a high ratio of local labour force, thereby taking a community-based approach, and encourages interaction between the tourists and the environment. As per the policy for the variation of tourism product of India, special attention is being paid towards the development of adventure tourism within the country. The Ministry of Tourism has also issued guidelines for approval of adventure tour operators, which is a voluntary scheme, open to all bona-fide adventure tour operators (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). Central financial assistance is being provided to various state governments and union territory administration for development of tourism infrastructure within the destinations including, adventure tourism destinations. These include facilities for trekking, rock climbing, mountaineering, aero-sports, winter and water related sports, trekker huts, wildlife viewing facilities and so forth. Financial assistance for purchase of water sports equipment consisting of kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, fibre glass boats, hovercrafts, water scooters, etc. are also provided to the state governments up to 25 percent of the cost of equipment. The Governments have also established training institutes throughout the country, making provision of certificate courses and programs in adventure sports (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). In higher educational institutions, within India, as well as in other countries, such as United States of America, there are programs and courses related to adventure tourism, and sports science. Individuals are required to develop an interest in these areas in order to pursue these courses and programs. The report of the working group on tourism, which has representation from policy makers as well as stakeholders from the industry, has generally identified the following areas of concern that needs to be addressed during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17). In order to completely acquire the adventure tourism potential that the diverse features in the geography of the country has to provide, there are certain aspects, which need to be taken into
consideration. These are, improvement of infrastructure and eminent adventure equipment, acknowledgement and development of new adventure destinations, restraints on use of satellite phones, and trekking contour maps, reinforcement of facilities for safety and protection of adventure tourists, antagonistic marketing of adventure tourism and brand “Indian Himalaya” to disregard the Indian tourism off-season, making the country an year- round destination, restricted marketing material and insufficient publicity of adventure events and familiarisation tours, co-ordination between various inter-ministerial policies, cumbersome visa issue system and multiple taxation issues in certain states (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). From the policy perspective, the Ministry of Tourism has the place for certificate guidelines, which put emphasis upon the delivery of services and focus upon the safety guidelines and the issues related to the conservation of the environment. The application and the approval mechanisms are easily accessible and the approved list of the operators can be found in the public domain (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). When an individual or a group of individuals are involved in different types of adventure tourism activities, then it is vital to ensure that they are aware of certain rules and guidelines. Appropriately following the rules is an essential requirement, for not only leading to safety and protection of the individuals involved, but also in making sure that the activities that they are being engaged in, are implemented in a well-organized manner. Opportunities and Challenges Within the growth of adventure tourism, there are opportunities and certain challenges experienced, which need to be overcome. These have been stated as follows: (Off the Beaten Trail, 2013). Opportunities Capacity Building - Adventure tourism is a niche activity involving a major extent of technical proficiency and knowledge as compared to the other aspects like culture, religion, business, recreation, or leisure. Since the protection of the tourist is a vital aspect here, it is imperative that the tour operators and the ground handlers possess the necessary skills and abilities to carry out the adventure activities in a safe manner. Although with the establishment of training institutes by the government, are focused upon very few adventure activities, such as, mountaineering and rock climbing, the infrastructure needs to be broadened to cater to the requirement of human resources within the industry, as well as take into its fold emerging adventure sports within the country.
Accessibility - Adventure tourism, by its very nature, demands travelling to remote and interior regions of the country. Adventure tourists usually have limited time, and travelling by road and rail to the tourist destinations is regarded as a time consuming affair. There is a need to initiate rapid air connectivity options, especially in the mountainous regions of north and north-east India. Faster travelling would be encouraged through the development of small airports and air strips. Another aspect here is the permits and the permissions required to make a visit to the border areas of the country, attaining which often becomes a burdensome process for the tourist as well as the tour operators. Rapid and strong clearance process is the need of the hour, using technology enabled tools and equipment as well as by issuing the compulsory documentation at the major cities and ports of entry for inbound and national individuals. Communication – In the case of adventure tourism, ensuring safety and protection is important as well as challenging. The use of GPS and satellite phones are regarded as the only means of permitting communication on a timely basis in these regions, as per the norms of the Government. It is vital to formulate measures and procedures in order to initiate solutions to permit these communication channels to be tapped by the tour operators. When these measures would get formulated, they would make provision of efforts in improving the safety and protection of the tourists and hence, leading to improvements in the tourist destinations. Adventure Equipment - Adventure tourism is considered as an industry, which is not in a well-developed state and measures and policies are still required to get introduced for the development of this form of tourism. Most of the specific and specialized tools and equipment that is required for conducting activities in a safe manner still needs to be imported. Importing goods require, where the rigmarole of substantial import duties and custom clearances often becomes a constraining factor. As proposed by ATOAI and other industry associations in the past, waiving import duties and facilitating custom clearances in a fast paced manner, would be beneficial even in the long term in providing a stimulus to the adventure tourism. Taxes - The adventure industry, in the present existence, experiences multiple taxes in the form of service tax, entertainment tax, and forest department taxes. These taxes, take a heavy toll upon the operating expenses, and often end up in discouraging the growth of the industry in high potential areas of the country. This aspect in some cases is a disadvantage in leading to growth and development of the adventure industry. Relinquishment of some of
these components would prove to be beneficial in the long term period in promoting local entrepreneurship and in leading to larger interest among tour operators to undertake this task. Preservation of the Environment – The individuals, particularly residing in remote and hilly areas, make use of natural resources in order to sustain their living. When use of natural resources is done on a large scale, then it also encourages depletion of resources. Therefore, the individuals, who are employed in the adventure tourism sector needs to ensure that the exploitation of natural resources is not carried out to a major extent. One of the aspects that is of utmost significance is, one needs to put into practice the measures that would lead to decline in various forms of pollution. These include, land, water and air. The other areas that need to be taken into consideration is, planting trees, preventing deforestation, keeping the environment clean and so forth. Challenges Connectivity and Airfares - Adventure travel by its standards and philosophy involves travelling to remote regions, where air travel, which is sometimes the only possible and feasible option is an expensive affair. Also, many adventurers prefer to travel with their own gear like mountaineering equipment, bikes, skis etc., transporting which over international carriers becomes an explicitly expensive option. In other words, when individuals are travelling from one place to another for the purpose of adventure tourism, it is essential that they should carry proper gear and equipment. In most cases, travelling, while carrying the gear and equipment becomes difficult, especially in air travel. Economy – Adventure trips, even the most basic formats are costly as compared to the other packages, which involves leisure activities. This is primarily due to the technical aspects of the service delivery involved. In addition, factors such as, fluctuation in the currency, rising airfares and increase in the unemployment rate, indicate that the tourism industry, would be required to undergo challenges. Hence, it is necessary to introduce packages that would ease the travel and tourism of individuals, belonging to different categories and backgrounds. Unemployment of well educated, experienced and qualified individuals is also an unfavourable aspect. Hence, it is essential to generate employment opportunities for the well qualified and experienced individuals. Loss of Adventure – The overcrowding at the Mt. Everest is regarded as the most blatant examples from a puritan perspective. The over-commercialization of adventure destinations has become a thoughtful and a serious issue, as other forms of tourism, and safety and protection of the individuals is regarded as a profound constituent of adventure travel. Increase in the number of tourists, involved in various types of tourist activities, not
only affects the ecology of the region itself, but also imposes detrimental effects upon the health and safety of the individuals. When individuals are involved in any types of sports activities, it is essential that they should be adequately trained. Socio-Political Environment – When taking into consideration, the socio-political environment, the current scenario in the middle-east is regarded as one such instance. The socio-political environment of a region is a matter of growing concern. The adventure travellers, more often than not, have a tendency to go into the remote and interior regions of a country, where ensuring safety and security is often a daunting proposition. There have been numerous detrimental effects experienced by adventure travellers. Especially when they are going into the interior of the region and exploring the natural environment, then it is vital that they should take adequate precautions. Safety Guidelines for Adventure Tourism The safety guidelines that individuals are required to take into consideration, when taking part in sports have been stated as follows: (Adventure Tourism Market Study, 2016). The groups of individuals, who are taking part in the adventure sports should be accompanied by a leader. It is vital for the leader to possess the essential skills and experience. They should be qualified and ensure that they possess adequate knowledge in terms of the areas relating to adventure tourism. It is vital for the individuals, who are taking part to possess the skills and abilities. The leaders are required to be completely confident and self-reliant that they possess the skills to participate. The leaders need to obtain the first aid certification and should be competent enough to impart the first aid training, particularly in the use of equipment and devices. The leaders need to be skilled and competent regarding the search procedures and the members of the group also need to possess the essential knowledge in terms of the search procedures. The group members need to be familiar with the use of radios and need to know, where they should be used. It is vital for the leaders to be familiar with the operations of the helicopters. In adventure tourism, the use of helicopter is required in some cases, hence, one should be aware in terms of how to make operative use of it. The leaders and the other individuals need to be familiar with the use of maps and compasses in any weather by day or night. One of the aspects that is of utmost significance is, members need to be healthy and keep themselves free from any ailment to take part in any forms of adventure tourism activities.
One should be satisfied that the tools and the equipment that is made use of, should be of appropriate quality and sufficiently meets the safety norms. It is vital to make the inspections of the equipment in an appropriate manner, in order to make sure that it is fit for use. Under not any types of circumstances should the aptitude be rated by the manufacturer of adventure sports equipment be exceeded, any unlawful amendments, except as additional safety measures be implemented or sub-standard materials be made use of. Information regarding the nature of movement, area of operation, period of activity, possible vulnerability, persons to be contacted in an emergency and list of members should be given to the concerned security and release committees. Appropriate hand-held strategies and policies with categorized agony, signal capabilities should be made available to the adventure tourist groups at proper prices, when available in India. A qualified medical doctor should be available, whenever there is a need. Communication facilities, such as mobile phone, walkie- talkie etc. should be available. Conclusion Adventure tourism is a niche tourism activity that involves exploration or travel to remote area, where the traveller should be adequately prepared to experience all the problems and difficulties. Adventure tourism has grown exponentially on a global scale over the past few years. Tourists discover new destinations, looking for rare, and unique experiences. Adventure tourism can be domestic or international, and like all the other travel, it must include an immediate stay, but did not last longer than one year. There are number of activities that individuals engage in adventure tourism, they can be land, water or air based. In India, there are mountains, hilly areas, Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, rivers, other water bodies, where the individuals get engaged in adventure tourism activities. The opportunities related to adventure tourism are, capacity building, accessibility, communication, adventure equipment, taxes and preservation of the environment. The challenges are related to connectivity and airfares, economy, loss of adventure and socio- political environment. It is vital to put into operation, the measures and procedures that are related to development of adventure tourism. For the effective development of adventure tourism, it is vital for the individuals involved to develop appropriate skills and abilities, make use of proper gear and equipment and take into consideration, all the necessary factors that are needed to facilitate the activities. These include, communication facilities, assistance from medical doctors and other safety measures. The individuals need to be adequately prepared to even experience the unexpected aspects. Efficient and experienced leaders should
be involved in the training of individuals and in inculcating among them all the traits that are needed to make the adventure tourism activities successful.