Adventure Tourism Market Study, conducted by George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies (IITS, www.gwutourism.org) for the ATTA, estimates the global adventure travel market at $263 billion.
Among North American adventure travelers, 83.6% engage in soft adventure activities; 15.4% engage in hard adventures. Average spending per trip, excluding airfare and gear, is as follows (annual spending growth in parenthesis):
• Soft adventure: $1,152 (9%)
• Hard adventure: $ 875 (25%)
Total spending for gear for adventure trips is $82 billion. Among North American adventure travelers, average gear and clothing spending is as follows:
• Soft adventure: $475
• Hard adventure: $250
The average trip length for adventure travelers is as follows:
• Soft adventure: 10.2 days
• Hard adventure: 11.7 days
The average age of adventure travelers is 36; 57% are male.
Festivals have developed around adventure sports enthusiasts, drawing large spectator audiences as well as participants. The following are among the largest festivals:
Adirondack Balloon Festival (www.adirondackballoonfest.org)
• Held in Glens Falls, New York, the four-day event is the oldest and largest hot-air balloon event on the East Coast. Not-for-profit and free of charge, the Festival attracts 100,000 to 150,000 people to the region each year.
US ATTRACTIONS & TOURIST ACTIVITIES ADVENTURE TRAVEL Photo Gallery
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (www.balloonfiesta.com)
• The largest hot-air balloon event in the world, this festival sees about 700 balloon registrations by participants from 40 states and 19 countries along with over 800,000 spectators each year. Direct spending is estimated at $91 million. Activities for the nine-day event include the Music Fiesta, Special Shape Rodeo, AfterGlow Fireworks Show, and more. The theme for the October 2016 event is Desert Kaleidoscope.
New River Gorge Bridge Day Festival (http://officialbridgeday.com/)
• Bridge Day, a one-day festival in Fayetteville, West Virginia, has been held annually since 1980. Bridge Day is the only day people are allowed to BASE jump off the bridge into the New River Gorge 876 feet below, one of the few exceptions to a general ban on BASE jumping within the U.S. National Park System. People are also allowed to bungee jump and rappel from the span on Bridge Day. Over
100,000 people typically attend the event; there are about 400 BASE jumpers.
Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon and Skydiving Festival (www.ohiochallenge.com)
• Held annually in Middletown, Ohio, the economic impact of the festival is between $3 million and $5 million. The 2016 festival was attended by 45,000 people.
Plano Balloon Festival & Sky Divers Show (www.planoballoonfest.org)
• The October 2016 festival marks 37 years of ballooning in Plano, Texas. A fireworks display and the Sky Divers Show are part of the festival.