The Wild World of Extreme Tourism

With more and more people taking on extreme tourism, we look at the trend to push the holiday boundary and ask why it is so alluring?

These people are crazy. One often hears such statements being spoken about those addicted to extreme tourism.

Extreme sports are of many kinds and attract innumerable people from all across the world. These individuals travel thousands of kilometres be it for paragliding, bungee jumping, scuba diving, windsurfing, motocross, mountain climbing, parkour, skydiving, sand surfing, mountain biking or canyoning, which involves activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling, and swimming. 

The list goes on and on and a new kind of an extreme sport gets added every once in a while. Soon enough there’s going to be space travel for those who are bored of all else.

Some of theses extreme tourism that are gaining popularity are visiting Chernobyl, swimming in the Devil’s Pool in Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Walking the Plank at Mount Hua in China, tour of the Death Road in Bolivia, traveling to the Green Zone in Baghdad, visiting Sac Actun in the Maya Riviera and Cave of Swallows in Mexico and the Pole of Cold in Oymyakon in Siberia.

 

Extreme Tourism, Why?

Now let’s take just two places at random. Swimming in the Devil’s Pool is actually not just scary but terrifying since you would swim at the edge of one of the largest waterfalls in the world. 

The noise and the awesome gushing sound of the water itself has a great numbing effect on the senses of many but creates a rush of adrenalin in others. So far as one knows there haven’t ever been any reports of anyone being swept over the falls or having died.

The Wild World of Extreme Tourism
Extreme: Tourism at Chernobyl has increased in recent years

The Cave of Swallows, thus called because thousands of green parakeets and white collared swifts live on the walls of the cave which is 994 feet wide and 1,200 feet deep. A person without a parachute would take a quick few seconds to free fall into the cave. 

Cave diving in general is known to be an extremely risky activity and there are reports of getting lost, becoming trapped and serious injuries and death and yet the sport attracts enthusiasts from all walks of the social ladder.

According to some studies it’s not just the rush of adrenalin but personal reasons why extreme tourism and sport attract so many. This particular study says: “At least 14 different motivations for adventure tourism and recreation, some internal and some external, have been identified in 50 previous studies. 

Skilled adventure practitioners refer to ineffable experiences, comprehensible only to other participants and containing a strong emotional component.”

 

Complex Thrill Seeking

This thing about sensation and thrill seeking is really quite complex and one wonders if only one rule can apply to all or even a set of rules. This study appears to confirm that and to quote from it. 

The results suggested that sensation seeking and self-efficacy represent two different predictors of the performance in the higher-risk freediving discipline. Further research is needed to verify whether current findings may be extended to other risky, competitive sports.”

While the risk takers insist there’s nothing dangerous about their activities the number of obituaries one reads would suggest otherwise. BASE jumping involves jumping with a parachute from buildings, radio masts, bridges and cliffs. 

This study on those involved in the sport says “ The results indicated that BASE jumpers deliberately took risks as a means of becoming positively transformed, which was essential to their quality of life.” I’m not sure if scientists will be able to arrive at any firm conclusions.

A large part of extreme tourism and extreme sports are dominated by males and it would appear these individuals must take risks to feel good about themselves. Not stating, only asking if there is some sort of a quandary here related to what most of us call ego?


Malta is always seen as a great tourist destination and for young people too.

How Stage Malta Inspires Life Changes In Young People

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