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Adventure Tourism and Economic Leakage

People’s pursuit of unique and exciting experiences led to a major growth of the global adventure tourism market. Adventure tourism includes such activates as bungee jumping, parachuting, and river rafting. According to Allied market research (2021), the global market for adventure tourism has generated around $100 billion in 2020 and is estimated to generate $1000 billion by 2028. Despite the risks and dangers to tourists’ lives, as well as lockdown measures in global pandemic scenario, adventure tourism is accounted for one the larger tourism market shares in 2020. However, adventure tourism significantly impacts environment and local economy.

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Most of the dangerous activities of adventure tourism take place in fragile and unique environments. In case of low environmental awareness of the tourism operators and guides, thousands of tourists leave imprints on nature, destroying eco-systems and endangering wildlife (Giddy, 2017). As well as environment, local economies also suffer when tourism money benefit multinational corporations and foreign companies. According to Kelly-Shankar (2020), for every $100 spent on tourism in developing countries, only about $5 goes back into local economy. This leakage does not allow local communities to develop, leaving popular destinations polluted with poor infrastructure. The problem also arises from adventure tourism not creating enough jobs for locals, reducing the multiplier effect. Since most exciting experiences do not require long-term comfortable accommodations.

Adventure tourism is a popular and exciting way to travel and experience the world. It accounts for hundreds of billions of dollar, yet the money does not usually go local communities, developing infrastructure and creating a better tourist destination. Instead, only major corporations and companies benefit from adventure tourism’s popularity. Additionally, it leaves a negative imprint on unique environments and eco-systems. Overall, the current state of adventure tourism is negatively impactful and threatening.


Kelly-Shankar, S. (2020). ‘What is economic tourism leakage? How to prevent its negative impact’, Curiosity Saves Travel.

Giddy, J. K. (2017). ‘Environmental values and behaviours of adventure tourism operators: the case of the Tsitsikamma, South Africa’, African Journal of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure, 5(4).

‘Global adventure tourism market to generate $1,169.09 billion by 2028: allied market research’, (2021), GlobeNewswire.

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