Where Adventure Meets Mass Tourism: Perspectives on Cruises

17 May 2016

Consider your definition of “adventure travel” and it is unlikely that all-inclusive resorts, cruise ships or theme parks spring to mind. As the number of people participating in adventure travel continues to grow, however, we find the heretofore adventure “niche” of the tourism industry intersecting with mainstream tourism businesses in new ways. One of these points of intersection with increasing prominence is the cruise industry. Cruise ships vary in size and focus and can be found throughout the world: at 225,282 tons Royal Caribbean’s “Allure of the Seas” is the largest ship, while a host of smaller vessels from expedition ships, riverboats and yachts provide specialized cruises for much smaller groups of passengers.

© ATTA / Hassen Salum

Cruise ships can be found in all the oceans of the globe. And while some coastal destinations such Cozumel, Mexico, for example have embraced large ship cruises, others such as the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador have chosen to restrict large ship access and only allow small vessels - under 100 passengers in the case of the Galapagos - into their waters.

How are cruise businesses, cruise passengers and cruising destinations influencing the adventure travel industry? What is the business opportunity for traditional adventure travel tour suppliers? What are the implications and responsibilities for adventure destination managers? In an effort to begin to understand how adventure travel tour operators and destinations are interacting with the cruise industry and their experiences, the ATTA has developed a short survey. We encourage any business or destination with an interest in this topic and experience with cruise to participate here.

Take the Survey