Xola Consulting Reveals First-ever Study on the Habits of Eco-Adventure Travelers

10 March 2011

Xola Consulting's study reveals the habits of North American Eco-Adventure Travelers. Ecotourism and Adventure Tourism are the fastest growing segments of the worldwide travel industry.

[caption id="attachment_6549" align="pull-right" width="250" caption="Mountain Biking adventurers"][/caption]

San Francisco, CA (Vocus/PRWEB) -As the adventure travel sector continues to grow, understanding this market has become crucial for destinations around the globe.

A brand new study conducted by Xola Consulting reveals a complex portrait of the US “eco-adventurer.” This is the world’s first study to go deep into the psychology of the North American adventure traveler. Results of a random sample survey of U.S. citizens regarding the values they consider important in their lives and travel preferences reveals a more finely tuned picture of the adventure traveler—labeled “eco-adventurers.”

“This is a complex person, eager to indulge in ‘scary’ or adventurous activities that can communicate his or her individuality, yet do not involve real risk or prolonged discomfort,” says Dr. Philippe Duverger, Director of Research at Xola Consulting.

Duverger noted that eco-adventurers want a comfortable life (they rank this as their number one value), yet at the same time they also want an exciting life (this ranks number two), which suggests a desire for risk. For example, this traveler likes to engage in caving or bungee jumping in a safe, yet exciting setting. After the thrill, they want to return to a comfortable hotel, obtained at the best possible rate, demonstrating a desire for saving money.

Xola discovered that, in general, US consumer values have shifted in the past thirty years. Survey respondents were provided with a list of values and concepts such as “a world at peace,” and “true friendship”, and asked to rank them in order of importance. Values such as “seeking an exciting life,” have moved up in importance since the 1980s, while spiritual values, such as “salvation” and the quest for “understanding life” and gaining “wisdom”, have dropped to the bottom of the list.

The study revealed that eco-adventurers do want a “world at peace,” and appreciate beauty in nature and the arts. In contrast to popular assumptions about these types of travelers, however, the study showed that local culture may not be as crucial to their experience as previously thought, given its surprisingly low rank among elements the eco-adventurer values.

The picture of the typical eco-adventurer emerging from this study resembles that of a “Bohemian-Bourgeois”: 40ish, Democrat, buys designer jeans, spends money on wine and possibly grows their own organic vegetables. Yet they also enjoy a Miller Light while watching a UFC match. Their inherent contradictions make them a difficult segment to market to – but their disposable income make them a desirable one.

Tour operators and destination marketers may consider different ways of packaging existing trips and shaping marketing messages to emphasize the excitement provided by the activities, while also considering “luxury with a conscience”.