Stats: 86 Percent of Travel Leaders Agents Saw Growth in Adventure Travel Sales

Travel Leaders Network EDGE Conference

Adventure travel is not just for the under-40 set or experienced adventure enthusiasts anymore – and the majority of those booking adventure travel are spending significant money on one-week or longer trips, according to newly released survey results from Travel Leaders Group.

Conducted by Travel Leaders Group, in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the survey results were unveiled on Thursday during Travel Leaders Network's annual international conference, EDGE (Educate, Discover, Gather, Evolve), taking place in Las Vegas through June 16.

The survey, which is the first of a planned annual benchmarking of travel agent active and adventure sales in partnership with ATTA, was conducted among leisure-selling travel agents, primarily those who specialize in adventure travel. While adventure travel still makes up a small percentage of their overall business mix, 86 percent of the respondents indicated they’ve experienced growth in their adventure travel sales over the past three years. 


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Additionally, the number of respondents who reported that the average age of their adventure travel clients falls into the 29-40 age range versus 41-50 age range differed by only one percentage point, and 22 percent of respondents indicated the average age of their adventure clients falls into the 51-60 age bracket.

Sixty-five percent of survey respondents stated the majority of their adventure travel business involves trips of seven to 10 days in length and another 21 percent are most commonly booking journeys of 11 days or longer. From a pricing standpoint, 30 percent of respondents said clients are spending $2,000 to $3,000 per person on average; another 33 percent cited an average spend of between $3,000 to $5,000 per person and 22.5 percent indicated clients are typically spending $5,000-plus per person on average.

Other results from the survey include:

  • The percentage of male versus female adventure travelers varied by only one percentage point (50.5 percent male; 49.5 percent female); however, a majority of the decision-making with respect to purchasing adventure travel is done by women (64 percent), which is consistent with travel purchase trends in the larger travel industry
  • The survey results showed a strong mix of novice versus experienced adventure travelers

The top 10 adventure travel destinations, according to the survey:

  • Western Europe (France, Italy, Germany, U.K., Norway, Switzerland, etc.)
  • Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala)
  • North America (U.S. and Canada)
  • Caribbean
  • South Pacific (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti)
  • South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador)
  • Mexico
  • Africa
  • Central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Poland)
  • South and Southeast Asia (India, Malaysia)

The top 10 types of adventure travel most-often booked via Travel Leaders Network travel agents (based on categories as defined by ATTA):

  • Cultural Tours
  • Hiking/Walking/Trekking
  • Culinary and Foodie
  • Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
  • Small Ship Expedition Cruises
  • Sea Kayaking/Whitewater Kayaking/Kayak Touring
  • Biking/Road Biking/Mountain Biking
  • Safaris
  • Rafting
  • Multi-sport (example: hiking, biking, and kayaking in one trip)

The survey indicated that adventure travelers are booking a mix of pre-organized tour operator packages and customized independent trips with neither category strongly leading the other.

Of the travel agents participating in the survey, 68 percent indicated they personally participate in adventure travel and their top mechanisms for securing new business include client referrals, social media and Agent Profiler, which is an agent locator tool on that enables consumers to find travel agents focused on specific specialties and destinations.

Agents cited the growth potential in adventure travel as their top motivation for selling this travel specialty.

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