Adventure Tourism: History, Advantages, Disadvantages, Destinations in India

  • Post last modified:26 October 2021
  • Reading time:22 mins read

What is Adventure Tourism?

Adventure Tourism may be defined as a leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote, or wilderness destination and tends to be associated with high levels of involvement and activity by the participants, most of it outdoors.

Adventure travelers are explorers of both an outer world, especially the unspoiled, exotic parts of our planet, and an inner world of personal challenge, self-perception, and self-mastery.

Historically, individuals drawn to work within the various adventure travel activities have done so because of their primary interest in an outdoor, travel-oriented lifestyle. Increasingly, these individuals are confronting the need for skills such as good marketing and business practices to stay employed and competitive within the field.

Most of the past and present adventure tourism businesses have been started by these “lifestyle” operators, and we are just now seeing tourism development investors beginning to actively seek out viable operations within adventure travel tourism. This trend will in turn create new issues to address in the integration of operator and investor.


History of Adventure Tourism

Even though it is not certain how adventure tourism began, merchants are considered to be the first adventure travelers. For example, North America was discovered by Erickson, and America by Columbus and India was found by Vasco Da Gama.

That was during a time when modernization didn’t become a regular part of your lives. Adventure traveling of today is considered to have started around 30 years ago when people from around the world begin an exploration of the Himalayan ranges in Nepal.

In fact, they were nothing more than wanderers and created the new-age form of adventure traveling. Even though others have had been moving around the world, people in India took to adventure traveling in recent times.

While there was a steady rise in this form of travel, India has now emerged amongst the leading 10 adventure tourism destinations in the world.


Advantages of Adventure Sports

  1. It keeps us extremely fit. It helps to burn calories and keeps the blood flowing. It stretches the limits of our body little by little thus helping us become stronger.

  2. It is a great way of having fun. Just like any other sport, it relaxes one’s mind and rejuvenates it.

  3. It provides us with new experiences. It gives an opportunity to live life to the fullest and to escape from everyday routine. It gives some thrill to life and these experiences become great memories to cherish during the routine life.

  4. It also gives a sense of achievement.

  5. It helps build confidence and motivation. This in turn helps people to take risks in their work where sometimes when needed, people are too timid to take a risk or hard decision.

  6. They help get rid of monotonous life as well as frustration, stress, bad emotions, etc.

  7. It also helps overcome fear and builds strength – physical and mental, endurance, will-power, responsibility, etc.

  8. Added to this, many of the extreme sports are outdoor activities and help us get in touch with nature.

Disadvantages of Adventure sports

  1. They are very dangerous.

  2. It is like putting your life in unnecessary danger just for recreational purpose.

  3. There is a very high possibility of injuries even with the safety precautions. Many even die trying and performing these feats. It is straining the body out of the comfort zone and may not go down well if the body is not prepared for such heavy workout or one is not a regular practitioner of adventure sports.

  4. Also, sometimes a person may not realize the fragility of one’s health and may get into trouble. He or she might think they are fit but such adventure sports increase heart rate, give an adrenaline boost, etc. which can cause even heart attacks. So there is no way to determine accurately whether a person is fit for these sports or not.

  5. These sports can be traumatic too.

  6. Also if a person is unable to perform satisfactorily in such sports, it can dent the confidence as many see these sports as a proof of guts, daring and many a times masculinity.

  7. Equipment or gears needed may be very expensive. Also the gear and equipment are mostly for safety purposes. So safety is costly in such sports.

  8. Some might get into trouble with law. E.g. Extreme sports’ athletes also are commonly prosecuted for defacing property and trespassing as in skateboarders, BMX riders, etc.

  9. Also family, relatives and friends worry about us and our safety. So choosing such a sport takes a toll on them too. They live in fear of our safety.

  10. For some sports, to enjoy them in a better manner one needs to train properly. In such a hectic schedule and fast paced life it is difficult to find time for such things.

Scope of Adventure Tourism in India

India, which is blessed with magnificent geographical and natural locations, is a wonderful location for adventures activities for tourists. There are plenty of adventures destinations and landscape locations, which are enough to provide an opportunity to engage in adventures activities in India.

Here are varieties of locations like landscape, sea connected area, mountains and adventure with the river, which attracts tourists and visitors for an adventures tour in India. These hot spots like Trekking, Camel Safari, White water Rafting, Wildlife Safari, Skiing, Mountaineering, etc. are one of the most preferred destinations in the world for their unique specialty and locations.

It is noted that India has a vast geographical richness, which consists of every Type of adventures activities in itself. Whether it is Mountaineering, Trekking, Paragliding, etc., there are a number of destinations located here.

If you are interested in adventures like Forest safari then there are a lot of destinations, which are enough to pacify your eagerness. Camel Safari, Jeep Safari is a special kind of adventures activities, which can be achieved in the many wildlife sanctuaries and Wildlife National Parks in India.

Mountain Biking is another adventures activity, which enchants visitors and in India. Leh and Ladakh Region provide a glorious site for the same where one can experience the adventures of biking here.

Adventure Scuba Diving: To go inside the sea and know about the separate life of creatures is also a special kind of experience for tourists. India provides glorious destinations, which are full of sea, related lifestyle of various creatures.

White water River Rafting also enchants the tourists who like to flow against the wave of water with full of risks and danger.

In India, there are many sites, which provide a glorious opportunity for White Water River rafting in Rishikesh, Zanskar River, Alaknanda River, Brahmaputra River, and many more these rafting destinations.


Adventure Tourism Destinations in India

Gulmarg Kashmir, Adaman Nicorbar, Uttarakhand, and north East India are the few best destinations to try these adventures sports in India. Kalaripayattu, Kushti, and Mallakhamb are few ancient traditional Indian sports to try in the different regions of the country for different tastes of sports.

  1. Skiing in Kashmir
  2. River Rafting in Himachal
  3. Mountaineering in Uttarakhand
  4. Trekking in Arunachal
  5. Scuba Diving in Andaman
  6. Flying Fox in Kerala
  7. Bungee Jumping in Karnataka
  8. Water Sports in Goa
  9. Paragliding in Maharashtra
  10. Rock climbing in Madhya Pradesh

Skiing in Kashmir

Kashmir, the heaven of earth is offer best one of the place for extreme snow sports like Snowboarding, ice-skating and Skiing. Gulmarg in Kashmir, Kufri in Shimla, and Auli in Uttarakhand are well-known destinations in India for adventure skiing and other winter sports.

Skiing is the major attraction of Kashmir along with ice-skating in frozen lakes and hiking in deep valleys.

River Rafting in Himachal

Rivers of the Great Himalayas like Chanderbhaga, Bhagirathi Satluj, and Ravi are some of the best rivers for white water rafting in India. River rafting is an extreme sport with thrills till the end in the highly dangerous rivers of the Great Himalayas.

The rolling white water of these rivers is offered tremendous opportunities for the challenging adventure sports activities of River Rafting. Manali along with Kullu are some of the excellent options for adventure river rafting along with kayaking and other water sports.

Mountaineering in Uttarakhand

The peak of Greater Himalaya makes Uttarakhand one of the best places for mountaineering and climbing activities. Most of the area of Uttarakhand is either covered by forest or snow-covered mountains with rocky hills and beautiful meadows.

Mountain Climbing is a very challenging sport and needs the skills to choose and perform the right technique at the right time, effectively and efficiently Garhwal and the Kumon region of Uttarakhand offer mountaineering, ski rafting, hiking, and rock climbing sports in India.

Trekking in Arunachal

The slice of paradise is still untouched and unexplored, northeast India offers the rare and wild experiences of Trekking and adventure caving.

The famous Bomdila Dirang Trek, Twang Mago Trek, Se La Nuranang Trek are the few destinations in the world to offer a wonderful experience of trekking. Trekking in the various beautiful valleys of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh with a variety of flora and fauna should be a great experience.

Its dense forests, rolling hills, and lush green beauty also offer hiking, jungle camping, and other mountain sports.

Scuba Diving in Andaman

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are union territories of India and are famous for their virgin beaches and the unexplored beauty of nature. These small islands are known for exciting scuba diving and snorkeling.

Havelock Island is one of the best sport to explore the underwater untouched beauty of the Andaman Islands.

Flying Fox in Kerala

Apart from adventures water sports, Kerala offers one of the extreme and fascinating sport called Flying Fox. Flying Fox a unique journey from above the hills, rivers, or valleys with ultra-strong steel zip lines and at the same time enjoy the breath-taking view of down earth.

As you fly through the steel zip lines like a giant fox from the valleys of Kerala also Fort in Rajasthan offers the same. Kerala also offers extreme adventures sports like Mountaineering, Valley crossing and Trampoline.

Bungee Jumping in Karnataka

The extreme sports bungee jumping is a very young sport in India and has yet to get popular in the country.

Feel the fun along with the thrill of Bungee Jumping in India, Mysore in Karnataka, Rishikesh in Uttaranchal, and Anjuna village in Goa are the only a few destinations in India to experience the exciting thrill of weightlessness. Rishikesh gets India’s Highest Bungee Jump Platform of 83 Meters.

Water Sports in Goa

Goa is the most popular tourist destination in India and its sea beaches are known as the best in the world.

Arabian Sea beaches of Goa offer some of the most popular water sports like Jet Skiing, Parasailing, Swimming, Snorkeling, and Kayaking. Ocean water Sports also include In the water and On the water sports.

Paragliding in Maharashtra

The Western Ghat hills of Maharashtra are one of the most preferred adventures sports destinations in India.

Place of Maharashtra like Panchgani, Kamshet, Lonavala, and Mahabaleshwar are well known for recreational flying sport Paragliding in India. Paragliding is the other most special and thrilling sport after Parachuting or skydiving.

Rock climbing in Madhya Pradesh

Rock climbing is one of the popular adventure sports in Madhya Pradesh along with Rappling Valley Crossing, Jumaring, and mountain climbing.

The Satpura Mountain ranges offer terrain for adventure activities like Rock Climbing and Trekking. Pachmarhi, Orchha Gwalior, Chanderi, and Jabalpur are the few best places that host good facilities and experiences of rock sports.

The capital city of Madhya Pradesh, Bhopal is well known for adventure Boat Racing.


Difficult Distinctions

  1. Travel Threshold
  2. Recreation and Tourism
  3. Fixed and Mobile Activities
  4. Social Context and Changes
  5. Equipment or Clothing and Entertainment
  6. Overlap with other Sub Sectors
  7. Skilled Adventure Tour in Remote Areas

Travel Threshold

There are three commonly drawn distinctions that are particularly difficult to apply in the case of adventure tourism.

The first is that for the purposes of economic statistics, a leisure activity only qualifies as tourism if it includes an overnight stay and/or travel away from the participant’s place of residence. Many commercial adventure activities are single-day tours.

Most of their clients, however, are holidaymakers who are already far from home and so qualify as tourists. In addition, many single-day adventure tours travel more than 40km from the pick-up point in the nearest gateway town to the location of the day’s activity itself.

Recreation and Tourism

The second difficult distinction is between adventure tourism, where a client pays a tour operator to provide an adventure experience, and adventure recreation, where individual participants carry out the same activity on their own.

From a legal perspective, e.g. in regard to liability insurance or access and operating permits for a particular site, this distinction is clear and very significant. As noted earlier, however, in terms of practical logistics there is considerable overlap.

Private recreational groups, particularly non-profit groups such as schools may be much larger than small commercial tours.

Fixed and Mobile Activities

A third significant distinction is between fixed-site and mobile activities. Again, the dividing line is not clear. A ski resort, for example, has a fixed size, whereas a backcountry ski tour is mobile.

Skiing and snowboarding are certainly excitement-based outdoor leisure activities that require specialist skills and equipment and rely on features of the natural terrain: i.e. an adventure activity.

Corresponding attractions for resort-residential development in subtropical areas, however, such as marinas and golf courses, would not be considered as adventure tourism, even if some of the boats based at the marinas do operate adventure tours.

Social Context and Changes

As societies in developed Western nations become increasingly urbanized, greater numbers of people have lifestyles that lack any outdoor component except during leisure activities. Many of these people are relatively well-off but have little leisure time: they are cash-rich, time-poor.

They see wilderness environments and wildlife through television programs and travel magazines, perhaps without appreciating just how much time, equipment and expertise are required to make a wildlife documentary film.

Equipment or Clothing and Entertainment

Over the past few years, quite strong and mutually reinforcing business links have arisen between adventure tour operators, equipment and clothing manufacturers, and the entertainment industry. These business ties are essentially mediated by fashion rather than any fundamental logistic links, so in the longer term, they may well prove ephemeral.

Overlap with other Sub Sectors

The commercial adventure tourism sector has grown rapidly but recently and has received rather little academic attention to date.

There is a long history of literature, from researchers and practitioners alike, in related areas such as outdoor recreation, outdoor education, leisure studies, and protected area visitor management. There are a number of cross-links from these fields of study into the tourism literature.

Individual recreational visitors to national parks, for example, make significant contributions to regional economies through their use of off-park tourist accommodation and services.

Similarly, the psychological experiences of participants in outdoor education and recreation programs may be very similar to those in commercial adventure tours.

Skilled Adventure Tour in Remote Areas

Historically, travel in the most remote areas and difficult terrain has nearly always been pioneered by scientific or sponsored expeditions, with commercial tourism lagging far behind.

It is only recently that the opportunity to make a first ascent or descent, a first traverse or crossing, or to be the first to carry out a particular recreational activity at a new site, has been marketed as a component of commercial tours.

Organizations such as the Explorers Club (2005) in the USA and the World Expeditionary Association (WEXAS, 2005) in the UK, focus on private rather than commercial expeditions.

It is only in the last decade or so that organizations such as the Adventure Travel Trade Association (2005) have begun to cater equally for adventure tour operators as well as individuals.

Even now, in areas of the world with local populations, transport, and accommodation, tourism is commonly pioneered by individual travelers, with commercial tours establishing much later once the destination is well known.


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