(SEATTLE, WASH.) – January 7, 2005 – Assessing and comparing adventure travel industry supplier and consumer perspectives of how “adventure travel” is defined is the primary objective of a new joint research project spearheaded by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA, www.adventuretravel.biz) and the Travel, Tourism and Recreation Center at Michigan State University (MSU, www.tourismcenter.msu.edu).
Calling for widespread industry and consumer involvement beginning January 7, 2005, at the Adventures in Travel Expo in Chicago, the ATTA/MSU study seeks to update and address gaps in existing adventure travel research. The new research also includes topics concerning industry growth and projections, segmentation of special interest activities, niche sectors such as cultural, environmental and education travel, and the availability of adventure travel products in international travel and tourism.
“Niche markets that create excitement and challenge for travelers will continue to earn travel budgets,” asserts Dr. Christine A. Vogt, MSU Associate Professor. “This study of adventure travel will refresh our current understanding of this category and provide insight to travel operators, destinations and ultimately consumers who travel for physically, mentally, and culturally exciting experiences.”
Gauging participation and the influence of adventure travel on both consumers and tourism development with the ATTA/MSU study will build upon similar work completed in 1997 (The Travel Industry Association of America) and in 2000 (published in the Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing by Sung, Heidi Y., Morrison, Alastair M., and O’Leary, Joseph T.). The critical difference in the new ATTA/MUS study is that it moves beyond a trade-only perspective to secure critical consumers perspectives to more fully and accurately capture the state of the industry.
“Industry experts recognize that ‘adventure travel’ has grown widely popular, both in interest, traveler participation and product offerings, but because defining adventure travel has proven challenging, effective research has been limited,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “Partnering with MSU, ATTA member companies and others, we aim to better define the category to improve standard tools for measuring and segmenting the influence, potential and needs of the adventure travel market.”
Second-year doctoral student Paige P. Schneider, who managed a Virtuoso adventure travel agency in Northwest Ohio for more than thirteen years, initiated the study. With guidance from the ATTA and Dr. Vogt, Ms. Schneider will supervise survey execution, collection, statistical review and summarize its findings.
Initial survey research will be conducted at multiple travel and adventure travel trade shows, through Internet, direct mail and phone survey exercises into March with preliminary results slated for release in April 2005 (editors: the date referenced here is revised from the original release). Two surveys were constructed for the ATTA/MSU project, each tailored for organizations recognized as adventure travel trade businesses and for traveling consumers respectively.
Established in 1990, Seattle, Washington-based ATTA is a strategic membership organization dedicated to raising the profile of adventure travel in the United States and abroad. The ATTA provides valuable services, knowledge and connections that help ATTA members learn, partner and grow for the benefit of the entire adventure travel industry and adventure travelers.
The Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies at Michigan State University has offered teaching, research and service programs since 1969. While they cover the breadth of recreation, park, tourism, and leisure studies, the focus is natural resource-based recreation and tourism. They are an interdisciplinary faculty with an applied focus on the management, marketing, planning, and administration of park, recreation, and tourism programs. The Travel, Tourism and Recreation Resource Center (TTRRC) and Center for Maritime and Underwater Resource Management (CMURM) are affiliated with the Department and directed by CARRS faculty.
Editors Note: To secure sample trade and consumer surveys, please contact:
Michigan State University
Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies
Travel, Tourism and Recreation Resource Center – TTRRC
Paige P. Schneider, CTC, PhD Student
172 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824-1222