Profile of an Exciting Career: Adventure Travel Specialist, Do you enjoy white-water rafting, mountain-climbing, or deep-woods hiking? If so, you may want to consider becoming an adventure travel specialist, one of the fastest growing occupations within the travel industry. An adventure travel specialist takes people on tours, expeditions, or adventures in the outdoors. Not only must they perform many of the same duties as a travel agent and a tour guide, but they must be able to physically participate in a wide range of activities.
Currently, adventure travel is split into two main categories: soft adventure and hard adventure. Soft adventure does not require the guide or participants to possess above-average physical abilities. Many of these activities are suited for families. Examples of soft adventure include a helicopter ride over a famous landscape, a guided horseback ride, or a whale watching excursion. Hard adventure requires determination and advances physical abilities or skills. Rock climbing or mountain biking are two examples of hard adventure tours.
Most people in this field both plan and lead adventures. A few specialists who work for larger companies might have the option of only planning the trips or working in the field as a guide. Adventure travel specialists spend a lot of their time planning the trips from an office. They have to advertise their tours, develop itineraries, and make dinner or hotel reservations that may be needed along with their tour. They do not spend a large portion of their time in the field, but the time they do spend on the trips is typically intense.
It probably goes without saying that to work as an adventure travel specialist, you must have a general love of the outdoors. You must enjoy participating in recreational activities, many of which can be highly strenuous and involve some element of risk. It is also necessary that you have excellent communication skills, as you will be talking with and guiding people on a daily basis.
If you will be responsible for planning the trips as well, you definitely need to have strong organizational skills and be familiar with resources in your tour area that will help make for a successful trip.
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ADVENTURE TRAVEL SPECIALISTS working for companies need at least a high school diploma, but a Bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred. If you are working independently, you probably need to be a high school graduate at minimum. The more education you have, the more likely someone is to trust you to take them on a trip that has known risks. There is no certification or licensure required.
If you decide to go to college or technical school to obtain a degree, you should consider taking the following types of courses: Anthropology, Archaeology, Earth Science, Geography, Geology, and Sociology. It would be a good idea to take various types of Physical Education courses as well. Expose yourself to as many recreational activities as possible!
Finally, because physical activity is involved, you should probably be trained in First Aid. Adding certification from the Red Cross is recommended.
The salary range for an ADVENTURE TRAVEL SPECIALIST is $5,000-$65,000+ annually. A specialist with managerial responsibilities can make, on the average, $225 a day. Most positions usually are paid on an hourly or per trip basis.
In 2000, there were over 600 million international travelers. About 40 to 60 percent of those travelers were nature tourists. This means that the market for adventure travel is large.
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The demand for adventure travel guides is likely to grow. One explanation for this is that more people are looking to participate in physical activities, as the public’s awareness of health is growing. Another reason is that people are becoming more interested in ecological and environmental issue, and they are looking for means in which they can explore and observe what is occurring in nature.
There is a projected increase for all forms of travel in the next five to ten years. However, obtaining a position as an adventure travel specialist will not be as easy as finding work as a travel agent or a historical tour guide. Generally, only 2 persons per 500 applicants are hired into this occupation.