Market Niches

Cultural Heritage Tourism

  • 76% of leisure travelers would classify themselves as "cultural/heritage travelers."
  • "Cultural/heritage traveler" is a rapidly growing phrase within the tourism industry, and is used to describe tourists who have participated in cultural/heritage activities on one of their trips in the past three years.
  • The segment of "cultural/heritage travelers" can be further broken down into 5 different subgroups: Passionate, well rounded, aspirational, self guided/accidental, and keeping it light.  All of these subgroups have experienced growth in the last couple of years.
  • Between 2009 and 2013, the amount of money spent per trip has increased for each of these groups.  This is particularly true for the "well-rounded" and "passionate" traveler groups.
  • Projected data for 2013 expected to see an increase of almost 8 million cultural/heritage travelers during the year.
  • For 2013, among all leisure travelers, cultural/heritage travelers were expected to account for 170 billion dollars in spending while non-cultural/heritage travelers were expected to account for 33.5 billion dollars.

*These were estimated figures based off of data from 2012

Adventure Tourism 

  • The adventure tourism market is an important, rapidly growing part of the tourism industry.  For the sake of research, adventure travelers are defined as those who reported an adventure activity as the main activity for their last trip.
  • Travel activities are divided into three different categories: Hard adventure (caving, climbing, trekking), Soft adventure (camping, canoeing, hiking), and  non-adventure (walking tours, getting to know locals, cultural activities).  Most adventure travelers participate in either soft or non-adventure activities, with very few taking part in hard activities. 
  • In 2013, the adventure travel market made up approximately 41.9% of the traveling population, a large increase from 26.3% in 2009.
  • The adventure tourism market continued to trend upwards even during a time of economic downturn.
  • Adventure travelers tend to be younger and achieve a higher level of education than other travelers. 
  • Per trip spending for adventure travelers increased from $593 in 2009 to $947 in 2012.
  • Based on the below average percentage of travelers who hold valid passports, there is evidence to suggest that a lot of adventure travel takes place regionally. 
  • The value of the adventure market for European, North American and South American countries is estimated at 263 billion dollars.

Adventure Tourism Market Study 2013 George Washington University

Adventure Tourism Market Report 2010 George Washington University

Sport Tourism

  • “Sport Tourism” is defined as specific travel outside of the usual environment for either passive or active involvement in competitive sport is the main reason for travel.
  • Two categories of “Sport Tourism” exist.
    • 1) Sports participation travel
    • 2) Sports spectatorial travel
  • In the past twenty years sports tourism the interest in sport and especially elite sporting events has grown rapidly (World Tourism Organization)
  • In some countries sport accounts for as much as 25% of all tourism receipts
  • In the United States, the Travel Industry Association of America found that in the past five years, 38% of US adults attended an organized event, competition or tournament as a spectator or participant, while on a trip of 50 miles or more.
  • Ironman Chattanooga will be a big part of sport tourism in Chattanooga for the next five years
    • This event is estimated to bring in over 75,000 people and a combined economic impact of $40,000,000 in the community.

National Association of Sports Commissions, Report on The Sports Travel Industry

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