EXTREME DESTINATIONS - THE FUTURE OF ADVENTURE TRAVEL
Contrary to what has been seen as a particularly turbulent period for the adventure tourism industry, the EXTREME Destinations team, led by Managing Director Ben Barker, have experienced one of their busiest years to date. Though depleted with visitor numbers, tourism boards have had the opportunity to look to the future and set in motion plans that seek to accommodate the evolving trends in consumer interest. Proven through the sharp uptake in enquiries and intrigue in the incredible and diverse projects that the EXTREME Destinations team have been driving, at the core of this shift in consumer interest is a desire for adventurous and action-based experiences whilst travelling. Through various site visits, prospecting and deal-making, the team have delivered their expertise in consulting and advising destinations on how best to leverage this rising desire for adventure travel.
Escaping his home of the Seychelles, Ben’s recent visit to Costa Rica in December 2021 encapsulated the level of appetite and opportunity. Known for its incredible national parks, breathtaking Pacific coastline and rich wildlife, Costa Rica is fast becoming not just the region’s hotspot for experiential travel, but also the worlds go to adventure travel destination. Travelling first to Monteverde in the Puntarenas Province, a place worlds away from the country’s famous beaches, the thick forests inspire thoughts of ziplines, tree-top climbing facilities and cycle tours. Journeying north-west to the world-renowned surfing and kitesurfing beaches around the Santa Rosa National Park, Ben was struck by the incredible diversity that Costa Rica has to offer.
Leveraging the natural topography of the land is an ideal that has become central to the desires of collaborators and as an adventure tourism utopia, Costa Rica has shown glimmers of how working with, not against wildlife and nature can set the foundations for successful tourism for decades to come. By what he saw and experienced in Monteverde, Ben believes that the country now requires burgeoning infrastructure and investment to support the huge upswelling in desire in creating sustainable tourism opportunities.
This prospecting trip came at a time when the EXTREME Destinations team was fresh from attending the November 2021 IAAPA Expo in Orlando, the premier event for industry professional to experience and understand what’s next in the world of attractions. Whilst forming new connections, Ben was fuelled by what he heard; he explains “arriving in the wake of COP26 and the seemingly positive notions that were laid out in Glasgow, all those at IAAPA conveyed a need to deliver increased environmental awareness in the attractions industry, not just for the sake of sustainability, but also to adapt to the changing desires of travelers and tourists. As a company that holds sustainability and the environment at thcore of everything we do, it was definitely exciting to hear how other companies were embracing this well needed shift towards sustainable attractions, entertainment and adventure tourism.”
Rather than scaling back tourism in an effort to support natural ecosystems and wildlife, infrastructure needs to be developed to facilitate the level of adventure and action that this new generation of tourists desire. Provisioning the development of sustainable tourism will bring people closer to nature and by doing so will help spread awareness of its plight. Providing people with the opportunity to visit such places will reinforce their level of awareness for nature and the local community directly or indirectly responsible for making such experiences possible. The development of eco-friendly tourist destinations should therefore be actively encouraged, rather than being seen as encroaching, it should be seen as working in harmony with nature, a matter which is now crucial to future of both tourism and the environment.
It has been an incredibly busy year for Ben and his team from EXTREME Destinations with site visits, prospecting, and deal-making. The portfolio of work and opportunities has taken a surprisingly positive upturn. The areas in which the EXTREME Destinations team offers deep expertise and experience is now receiving recognition from tourism authorities around the world. By offering feasible alternatives to the huge resorts and hotels that dominate many countries’ coastal areas, EXTREME is looking to inspire a new generation of adventurers and thrill seekers. Why travel all that way to limit yourself to the confines of your all-inclusive hotel? The EXTREME Destinations team is a crew of passionate travellers looking to inspire people to step outside, try something different and become part of the new wave of explorers looking for the experience of a lifetime. Contact Ben and his team to explore how EXTREME can add value to your destination.