Outdoor recreation and adventure tourism are closely related. After all, most adventures involve outdoor activities.
Outdoor recreation is often thought of as the activities people do on their own but it also includes organized activities, either led by a guide or self-guided by the guest with some logistical or planning assistance along the way.
We share a lot with other sectors of the outdoor and adventure industry, including outdoor recreation, outdoor education, environmental education and adventure therapy.
All of these have the power to transform participants. The difference is what we aim to change.
Interpretation is another sector that is often associated with adventure tourism. Like outdoor recreation, interpretive activities are often part of adventure tourism. The difference is once again one of purpose where interpretation aims to reveal meaning and to enhance the participants’ appreciation for the cultural and natural heritage.
Another type of tourism that is related to adventure travel is ecotourism. While both share a setting in nature and responsible tourism objectives, the difference is in their purpose with ecotourism being travel for the specific purpose of visiting pristine, fragile and relatively undisturbed natural environments.
Each context has the power to transform the participants. The difference is what we aim to change.
The focus is on the fitness or technical skills involved in the activity.
The focus is on changing the way people think in, for, or about the outdoors.
The focus is on changing the way people behave.
The focus is on enhancing the participants’ appreciation for the cultural and natural heritage.
The focus is on visiting pristine, fragile and relatively undisturbed natural environments.
The focus is on crafting moments that provide a connection with place and people.
Different types of organizations offer adventure tourism, outdoor recreation and interpretive programs. These include summer camps, schools, government agencies like Parks Canada or Alberta Parks, youth clubs, outdoor clubs and tour companies like us.
Each of these types of organizations has a different purpose driving why they offer their programs. They also have different industry standards and permit requirements to consider.
Our focus is on adventure tourism products offered by tour companies. Guides who work for other types of organizations or in different contexts will need to adapt how they approach the adventures they lead accordingly.