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Adventure travel is a type of niche tourism, involving exploration or travel with a certain degree of risk (real or perceived), and which may require special skills and physical exertion. In the United States, adventure tourism has grown in recent decades as tourists seek out-of-the-ordinary or "roads less traveled" vacations, but lack of a clear operational definition has hampered measurement of market size and growth. According to the U.S. based Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel may be any tourist activity that includes physical activity, a cultural exchange, and connection with nature.
Adventure tourists may have the motivation to achieve mental states characterized as rush or flow, resulting from stepping outside their comfort zone. This may be from experiencing culture shock or by performing acts requiring significant effort and involve some degree of risk (real or perceived) and/or physical danger (See extreme sports). This may include activities such as mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, mountain biking, canoeing, scuba diving, rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, paragliding, hiking, exploring, sandboarding, caving and rock climbing. Some obscure forms of adventure travel include disaster and ghetto tourism. Other rising forms of adventure travel include social and jungle tourism.
Access to inexpensive consumer technology, with respect to Global Positioning Systems, flashpacking, social networking and photography, have increased the worldwide interest in adventure travel. The interest in independent adventure travel has also increased as more specialist travel websites emerge offering previously niche locations and sports.
There is a trend for developing tourism specifically for the disabled. Adventure travel for the disabled has become a $13 billion USD a year industry in North America. Some adventure travel destinations offer diverse programs and job opportunities developed specifically for the disabled.
Cultural tourism is the act of travelling to a place to see that location's culture, including the lifestyle of the people in that area, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religions, and other factors that shaped their way of life.
Disaster tourism is the act of traveling to a disaster area as a matter of curiosity. The behavior can be a nuisance if it hinders rescue, relief, and recovery operations. If not done because of pure curiosity, it can be cataloged as disaster learning.
Ecotourism is now defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education" (TIES, 2015). The objective of ecotourism is to protect the environment from detrimental impacts such as human traffic, and to provide educational information by promoting the unique qualities of the environment. Additionally, ecotourism, “should attempt to move Eco tourists from a passive role, where their recreation is simply based on the natural environment, to a more active role where their activities actually contribute to the health and viability of those environments.” (Orams pg. 5).
Ethno tourism refers to visiting a foreign location for the sake of observing the indigenous members of its society for the sake of non-scientific gain. Some extreme forms of this include attempting to make first contact with tribes that are protected from outside visitors.
Two controversial issues associated with ethno tourism include bringing natives into contact with diseases they do not have immunities for, and the possible degradation or destruction of a unique culture and/or language.
Extreme tourism involves travel to dangerous (extreme) locations or participation in dangerous events or activities. This form of tourism can overlap with extreme sport.
Jungle tourism is a rising subcategory of adventure travel defined by active multifaceted physical means of travel in the jungle regions of the earth. Although similar in many respects to adventure travel, jungle tourism pertains specifically to the context of region, culture and activity. According to the Glossary of Tourism Terms, jungle tours have become a major component of green tourism in tropical destinations and are a relatively recent phenomenon of Western international tourism.
Overland travel or overlanding refers to an "overland journey" - perhaps originating with Marco Polo's first overland expedition in the 13th century from Venice to the Mongolian court of Kublai Khan. Today overlanding is a form of extended adventure holiday, embarking on a long journey, often in a group. Overland companies provide a converted truck or a bus plus a tour leader, and the group travels together overland for a period of weeks or months.
Since the 1960s overlanding has been a popular means of travel between destinations across Africa, Europe, Asia (particularly India), the Americas and Australia. The "Hippie trail" of the 60s and 70s saw thousands of young westerners travelling through the Middle East to India and Nepal. Many of the older traditional routes are still active, along with newer routes like Iceland to South Africa overland and Central Asian post soviet states.
Urban exploration (often shortened as urbex or UE) is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities. Urban exploration is also commonly referred to as infiltration, although some people consider infiltration to be more closely associated with the exploration of active or inhabited sites. It may also be referred to as "draining" (when exploring drains) "urban spelunking", "urban caving", or "building hacking".
The nature of this activity presents various risks, including physical danger and the possibility of arrest, heavy fines, and incarceration. Many, but not all, of the activities associated with urban exploration could be considered trespassing or other violations of local or regional laws.