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The purpose of this discussion paper is to discuss what is the role of perceiving risks in adventure tourism and what safety requirements needs to be followed when undertake the adventurous activities.
Keywords: Perceived Risk, Safety, Adventure, Tourism
Nowadays, travelling to adventure environment, there is more chance of a higher level of perceiving risk while undertaking any of adventure activities. Risk is one of the areas of adventure tourism exploration, which has attracted a certain attention to the participants.
In tourism cases are concentrating on perceived risk, because tourists personal risk assessment figures travel behaviours and choices. The way people perceive risk depending on previous experiences, personality, gender, culture and age. As well as, the people goals and expectations are taking the important role of travel choice regarding to the tourists destinations.
Adventure tourism seems to work in opposite way: perceived risk is attractive to the potential customers, something that they are often searching for. The perception of adventure involves a risk of the people who are trying things way beyond their limits. “Perceptions of risk are in the eye of the beholder, that is, they are very individual. If perceptions of risk are individual, then can the same be concluded about: why people take risks and how much risk they are willing to take?” (Dickson et al, 2004).
The ultimate goal of person’s life and adventure activities offer the right opportunities to achieve them and accept possible risks that might be undertaken. In this case could be example as extreme sport activities, for example: tandem skydiving, bungee jumping, paragliding, parachuting, etc.
In terms of tourism, there are risks that are associated with social and political aspects in adventure tourism, which people consider as a threat when travelling, for example: incidences of terrorism, economic fluctuations, political change in the country, etc. Politics is disturbed with the exercise of power and influence in a society and in specific decisions over public policy. “The public policy is within government who decide to do or not to do about issues and problems with respect to tourism. Tourism policy is therefore a course of government action in specific relation to tourism” (Hall, 2002). Tourist has to clearly understand what roles are in that area (destination) where they going.
Looking at the social aspects on tourism, there are levels which are divided to richer, mid-population and poorer levels. If in destinations has more poor people leaving it might be more possible that the crime level will be higher than mid-population or richer areas. For example, it can be robberies, terrorism, etc. Some travellers prefer adventure and discouraged by any of the incidents that are happening in that area or destination, because the travellers choose better riskier trip than safe. But other tourists knowing the truth are not going to that particular destination.
The other important role of adventure tourism is safety. For safety requirements, traveller must plan their itinerary and is important to plan a worst evacuation scenario just in case if something goes wrong. Traveller has to find out weather forecast for the period when the person is going to the adventurous trip. “Travellers should always leave a trail to be followed. They should sign and date as many guest books as possible at hostels and the front gates of parks or reserves or historical attractions they visit. They should also make allies and friends along the way with people who could remember them if shown a picture” (Stratford Analysis, 2011).
The other aspect of planning is to understand what safety equipment is necessary for a specific location where the traveller is going. The traveller needs correct communicational equipment, for example: GPS equipment, emergency radio which shows weather forecast, radio phone, etc. Also, the traveller needs correct knowledge of the environment in order to protect themselves. Each of these has specific safety rules that need to be followed, for example: land, air, snow, boating and water adventures. The other safety rule is to go through survival school on the environment where the traveller is going and in order to have opportunity to defend themselves and survive high risk situations. The most important when traveller is going abroad, they need correct safety equipment, for example first aid kit, Personal protective equipment (PPE), etc. When people undertake adventurous activities without appropriated experience of activities or training can be dangerous and high risk of possible injuries or death. People, if they are travelling independently, they should have a good attitude towards their own safety to survive or not get injured.
Dickson, T., Dolnicar, S. (2004) "No risk - no fun, the role of perceived risk in adventure tourism", International Research, Australia.
Hall, C.M. (2002) “Travel safety, terrorism and the media: The significance of the issue-attention cycle”, Current Issues in Tourism, 5 (5), pp458-466.
Stratford Analysis (2011) “Special Series: Security During Adventure Travel” [online transcript] Available from: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/detail?vid=2&sid=79049611-bf4f-475b-87aa-c9e5280d3655%40sessionmgr198&hid=110&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ%3d%3d#db=bth&AN=67469623
(Accessed on: 19.04.2014)