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The role of risk in Adventure Tourism

Written by: Skudra, Evija

University: Lincoln

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)

Commentary to "The role of risk in Adventure Tourism"

Written by: Li, Ping

University: Wolverhampton

In this paper, the author tried to analyse the risks in front of travellers in adventure tourism. The author tried to consider the difficult and risks comprehensively on aspects of both macro (political and industrial) and micro (travelling plan and equipments). At the first part of the paper, the author highlighted the basic characteristic of adventure tourism, and linked the perceived risks to travellers’ behaviour. At the second part of the paper, the author tried to research the external factors which influence the development of tourism industrial market. At the end of the research, the author gave a series of recommendations for adventure travellers in order to improve their safety and security. The author has tried to explain the role of risks in adventure tourism by its definition and features, the author also conclude useful measures to protect travellers in adventure tourism. However, there are a few deviations which cause readers confused in this paper.

Firstly, the goal of adventure tourism is “having experience of beating risks, overcoming difficulties, and facing challenges” rather than the “perceived risk” itself. (Clarke, 1997; Sung et al, 1997; Jacobsen, 2001) Similar as other tourism types, travellers take part in trips in order to have some certain experience on the things they are interested in. Therefore, the attraction of adventure tourism is also a special kind of tourist experience, on the desire of travellers, adventure tourism is not working in the “opposite way”.

Secondly, the role of “risks” in this paper seems be unambiguous and be confused with the external factors which impede the adventure tourism. The difficulties and challenges in front of travellers when they are undertaking adventure activities, are the micro definition of risks in adventure tourism. These risks are directly appeared in front of adventure travellers. The political environment and social conditions are the macro risks which is challenging the general adventure tourism industry rather than some certain individuals. In this paper, the author defined the micro risk is the “attraction” and it is positive to promote the market; the author also defined the macro risk is the “political situation” but it is negative to the safety and security of adventure travellers. However, the author gave a series of recommendations against the micro risks but no recommendations or suggestions to deal with the political and social issues on adventure destinations.

Overall, there are other stakeholders beside travellers in adventure tourism: government, local community, tourism operator, and project supporter. This paper has limited on the aspect of travellers rather than linking the travellers to other stakeholders in adventure tourism. To deal with the risks in adventure tourist activities, travellers have to be supported by the whole risk management system but not only be themselves.


Clarke, J. (1997) A framework of approaches to sustainable tourism. Journal of sustainable tourism, 5 (3), pp. 224--233.

Jacobsen, J. (2011) “Nomadic Tourism and Fleeting Place Encounters” Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, no, 1. pp. 99–112.

Sung, H., Morrison, A. M., and O’Leary, J. T. (1997) “Definition of Adventure Travel: Conceptual Framework for Empirical Application from the Providers' Perspective” Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, vol. 2, no, 1, pp. 47–67.