Adventure Travel Rapidly Expanding, According to New Survey

June 21, 2018

Clearly, adventure travel is on the rise and the average age of adventure travelers is expanding

Joint Survey Conducted by Travel Leaders Group and the Adventure Travel Trade Association Reveals Variety of New Data on Adventure Travel Market


New York, NY (June 21, 2018) — Adventure travel is not just for the under 40 set nor the exclusive domain of experienced adventure enthusiasts anymore – and the majority of those booking adventure travel are spending significant money on one-week or longer trips, according to newly released survey results.


The recently concluded survey was conducted by Travel Leaders Group, one of the country’s largest travel agency companies, in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), which is a global authority on adventure travel.


The survey, which is the first of a planned annual benchmarking of active and adventure travel, was conducted among leisure-selling travel agents, primarily those who specialize in adventure travel. Eighty-six percent of the respondents indicated they’ve experienced growth in their adventure travel sales over the past three years. Also of note, the number of respondents who reported that the average age of adventure travelers falls into the 29-40 age range versus 41-50 age range differed by only one percentage point, and a healthy 22 percent of adventure travelers falls into the 51-60 age bracket.


The survey also revealed that 65 percent of survey respondents stated the majority of their adventure travel business involves trips of 7 to 10 days in length and another 21 percent are most commonly booking journeys of 11 days or longer. From a pricing standpoint, 30 percent of respondents said adventure travelers are spending $2000-3000 per person on average; another 33 percent cited an average spend of between $3000-5000 per person and 22.5 percent indicated consumers are typically spending $5000-plus per person on average.


“Clearly, adventure travel is on the rise and the average age of adventure travelers is expanding,” said John Lovell, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Network and Leisure Group. “Consumers are focused more and more on authentic, transformational and exciting travel experiences, which is helping to fuel the growth in adventure travel. And we are seeing many consumers spending big dollars on adventure travel to far-flung destinations on longer journeys as well as many who are combining active and adventure travel with some luxury elements,” Lovell commented.


Added Russell Walters, Regional Director for the Adventure Travel Trade Association, “As a $683 billion industry and growing, adventure travel is clearly booming and becoming more and more popular.”


Other interesting facts from the survey:


  • The percentage of male versus female adventure travelers varied by only one percentage point (50.5 percent male; 49.5 percent female). However, a majority of the decision-making with respect to purchasing adventure travel is done by females (64 percent), consistent with travel purchase trends in the larger travel industry.
  • The survey results showed a strong mix of novice versus experienced adventure travelers.


The top 10 adventure travel destinations, according to the survey:


  • Western Europe (France, Italy, Germany, U.K., Norway, Switzerland, etc.)
  • Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala)
  • North America (U.S. and Canada)
  • Caribbean
  • South Pacific (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti)
  • South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador)
  • Mexico
  • Africa
  • Central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Poland)
  • South and Southeast Asia (India, Malaysia)


The top 10 types of adventure travel most-often booked (based on categories as defined by ATTA):


  • Cultural Tours
  • Hiking/Walking/Trekking
  • Culinary and Foodie
  • Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
  • Small Ship Expedition Cruises
  • Sea Kayaking/Whitewater Kayaking/Kayak Touring
  • Biking/Road Biking/Mountain Biking
  • Safaris
  • Rafting
  • Multi-sport (i.e., hike/bike/kayak in one trip)


The survey indicated that adventure travelers are booking a mix of pre-organized tour operator packages and customized independent trips with neither category strongly leading the other.


Consumers seeking a travel agent who is an adventure travel specialist may visit and search by specialty. In addition to active and adventure travel, Travel Leaders Network travel professionals also specialize in leisure and luxury travel, business travel, honeymoon and destination weddings – as well as active and adventure travel.



About Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group ( is transforming travel with a commitment to our vacation and business travel clients through our progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Having already assisted millions of travelers, Travel Leaders Group manages leisure, business and franchise travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands. With over 7,000 agency locations, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest traditional travel agency companies.


About Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) today is widely recognized as a vital leadership voice and partner for the adventure travel industry around the world.


Membership + Trade


The membership and trade organization is designed to be a force for the industry and exists to drive thought leadership, industry promotion, and opportunities to network and convene globally to create trade and business health. It currently serves more than 1,000 members in 100 countries worldwide. The constituency is made up of tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents, and accommodations all sharing a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism.


2018: Year of the Travel Agent

Travel Leaders Group has named 2018 Year of the Travel Agent. Over the last decade, the travel agency industry has flourished through technology, the growth of travel options and personalized service. Travel Leaders Group represents more than 52,000 travel agents with unmatched expertise in 135,000 destinations and 53,000 areas of interest. Travelers and suppliers have rediscovered the value a professional travel advisor delivers to the travel experience. Travel agents help to move people around the world, and keep our economy growing.

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