post by : Marti Naomi
What is extreme tourism?
Extreme tourism involves travel to moderate or extremely unsafe places or to participate in adventurous and potentially dangerous activities. Travelling to dangerous environments means difficult environmental conditions for human survival (for example: desert, polar region, mountains, rain forests, etc.). It also indicates dangerous places that have been devastated by natural or human disasters such as region affected by nuclear catastrophe (Chernobyl). The travellers can take part in dangerous activities that often involve high physical conditions and a strong adrenaline rush (for example: rafting, bungee jumping, ice walking, cage diving with white sharks, trekking across a desert, etc.)
The target market
People interested in taking extreme holidays are young and adventurous. They usually earn a good income, are not married and have no children. They are seeking for adventure, adrenaline or personal challenge. The thrill of an unknown experience is appealing and also a way to ‘escape’ mass tourism and popular destinations. It exists travel agencies specialised in organising adventure trip. They will organise the activity, the accommodation, food and medical assistance if needed.
Extreme tourism has expanded in popularity in recent years because travelling has become affordable for quite everyone. Nowadays, people are willing to pay more to add a unique experience to their trip. This type of tourism is mainly criticised due to the environmental damage that those activities might cause in certain areas. For example, the increase of tourism in Antarctica brings pollution and foreign organism that may threaten the continent ecosystem. Extreme tourism is sometimes referred as “shock” tourism, which consists in visiting dangerous areas, such as countries at war. The critics are concerned with the unnecessary risk of visiting such unsafe places, as well as the morbid curiosity that leads people there.
And in Switzerland?
Switzerland offers a wide range of extreme activities/sports, such as skiing, canyoning and bungee jumping thanks to its natural resources (mountains, rivers). During the whole year and everywhere in Switzerland it is possible to undertake such activities. While professionals in this field can take part the Matterhorn ascent or base jump from very high cliff, people more amateurish can enjoy the adrenaline rush of rafting or rap jumping with experienced guides. Unfortunately, several activities like skiing and snowboarding have a big impact on the environment as they require a lot of infrastructures that damages the nature.
Marti, Naomi - 701e (2015); Meier, Marine - 701e (2015)