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Business Opportunities for Young Entrepreneurs in Adventure Tourism The businesses of adventure travel is growing at around 70% every year and let's explore it's prospects.

By Viswanath Raju

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Halay Alex/Shutterstock via BI

With the inclusion of technology, the youth of today are seen heavily investing in entrepreneurial ventures in the adventure travel and tourism industry. As per the Nielsen research report of 2016 submitted to Indian Ministry of Tourism, Tourism is one of the largest employers as it provides employment to one out of eleven. And, this one is usually the type of self-employment in the most sought-after niche of tourism—adventure tourism. The statistics are expected to increase exponentially by the year 2030.

The businesses of adventure travel is growing at around 70% every year. Tour operators affirmed that they are growing continually as shown in the Adventure Travel Trends Snapshot Survey conducted by Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in early 2018. Over the past few years, a major shift has been observed in the interests of the travelers —from cultural or ethnic tourism to adventure experiences which includes exploring remote or secluded areas with quest for the unexpected. ATTA defines adventure tourism as a trip or tour which involves the natural environment, physical activities, and cultural immersion.

The adventure activities such as Bungee Jumping, High-altitude Trek, Wildlife Safari, Kayaking, etc., are categorized on the basis of interests and physical capabilities of the travelers. These activities attract a wide range of customers and help regulate the local economies and facilitate sustainable practices. Additionally the adventure tourism industry has opened up an avenue of business opportunities for young and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Adventure Tourism & Entrepreneurial Ventures

• Small-scale local businesses

Because the culture of travelling to adventure destinations is indispensable, the locals of the region begin their small businesses such as cultural handloom & crafts, traditional food & beverages, transportation, and tourist guides. Starting off as small scale businesses, they tend to grow leaps and bounds with the increasing number of travelers and partnering with the tech-based companies.

Adventure travellers these days are inclined toward experiencing an authentic feel of the place and are willing to live in the houses of local people and eat with them all the traditional cuisines. Airbnb is a fine example of a hospitality marketplace that personally connects the travelers to the locals. The young entrepreneurs are acting as the intermediary between them using technology to generate revenue for their company, allowing the locals to earn money, and giving the travelers worthwhile experiences.

• Tech-enabled Tour Operators and Travel Agents

Working as adventure tour operators and travel agents is lucrative business across the globe. A tech-enabled adventure tour and travel company that offers cost-effective, choices of exotic destinations, and options for accommodation and transportation is appreciated by the tourists. Where there are dozens of adventure tour operators out there online, standing out can be challenging, but technology has the solution. An adventure tour and travel marketplace online can be built on a decentralized or centralized network where the all the information can be shared and accessed by the different operators. They can give information on adventure tour packages and real-time updates on the opening hours of the attractions, activity charges, etc.

Tour operators can also use Blockchain technology to enhance the security of the user's data shared on their websites including transaction details and any sort of financial transfers. All information exchanged by the service provider and the customers are time-stamped and encrypted, thus remains safe and secure. Technology improves one-on-one communication between the service provider and customer without much costs involved.

• Private Airlines/ Airports

Meanwhile, the airports stand no more as simply the transportation providers. Through their airlines, many are determined to deliver their travelers with transforming experiences during the journey. The youth can explore the great business opportunity in opening private low-cost airlines or privately owned airports.

In the year 2016, Kerala Tourism took an initiative to set up a VR zone at IGI Airport terminal-3 Delhi to let the travelers cruise the backwaters of Kerala while waiting for the flight. Part of Kerala Tourism's "Out of Home" Marketing, it attracted over hundreds of travelers a day to experience the zeal of Kerala backwaters through a 2-minute video shot using 360-degree technology. The traveler could get in the zone with a life-size houseboat and put on the VR headset. The film visualizes the beauty of Kerala's backwaters which thrills the travelers.

When it comes to adventure trips, exclusive access to the remote locations is what interests the travellers the most. The companies which enable the commutation to such remote locations, not easily accessible, through the private jets, boats, and vehicles along with safety equipment are seeing the continual growth over the time.

• Digital Marketers in Adventure Tourism

According to an Adventure Tourism Market Study, the average age of adventure nomads is noted as 36, quite younger than the non-adventure travelers. And, these young travelers rely on online booking platforms and tour operators for planning their adventure trips due to the product choice, ease of use, efficiency, and the best price available. But as the competition is stringent online, a digital marketing company must be hired by the adventure tour operator with specialization in selling adventure tourism products online.

Where digital marketing company can look after the trends and products in demand, the tour operators can watch out for the supply. Evaluating the search volumes for adventure destinations, the digital markers have to devise their SEO strategies. Keeping an eye on the shared experiences of the adventurers on social media, marketers can provide suggestions to the tour operators on tailoring their services. Therefore, digital marketing holds great potential in the sector of adventure tourism.

In the year 2016, the global adventure tourism market held the worth of $444,850 million and is now expected to reach up to $1,335,738 million by 2023. In such a volatile market, young entrepreneurs can identify and explore the right opportunities to leverage and contribute to the overall growth of adventure tourism market.

Viswanath Raju

Viswanath Raju, Co-founder & Head of Marketing at Mojhi

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