Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Business Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Sophie Price

Second Advisor

Dr. Clare Rigg


The Adventure Tourism Industry is a customer service industry where product development and presentation is propelled by the clients' needs and desires. The majority of people who participate in adventure tourism activities are novices and have no prior experience or relevant skills. It is this market of 'no skills required' which is the focus of the commercial adventure tourism industry. As there are inherent risks involved in all adventure activities, risk, risk perception and risk management are key skills for the Adventure Activity Provider and Guide. Risk however is multidimensional, made up of physical risk components and subjective risk components. This research is concerned with the subjective risk components of three adventure tourism activities: hill walking, rock climbing and kayaking. The core questions this research aims to answer focus on identifying what risk perceptions are associated with adventure activities and how are these risk perceptions managed by the providers and guides who deliver these activities. In this study both quantitative research, in the form of adventure activity tourist questionnaires, and qualitative research, in the form of semi-structured interviews with providers and guides, are used to present a comprehensive investigation of the topic. This triangulation allows examination of the area of study from three different perspectives, the adventure activity tourists, the providers and the guides of the three adventure tourist activities.

This research found that motivation to participate in adventure tourism activities is not one dimensional but has to do with satisfying a collection of motives. All three client groups (hill walkers, rock climbers, kayakers) gave prominence to 'fun, challenge, thrill, adventure, to do something different, to be physically active, and be with friends', while 'risk' and 'fear' were not major motivations for any of the three . This research identifies disparities in the providers' and guides' understanding of their clients' motivations to participate in adventure tourism activities. Neither the providers nor the guides listed fun or to be physically active as dominant motivators for their clients' for participating in any of the three adventure activities. Yet both fun and to be physically active were given prominence by all three client groups as being dominant motivations.

In relation to perceptions in risk awareness, safety awareness and safety responsibility, ail three client groups displayed similar perceptions prior to participating in their chosen adventure activity and the study found all three groups displayed changes in their perceptions at post activity stage, however, the degree of change was different for each of the groups. The most notable change in perceptions was by the kayakers, followed by the hill walkers and then the rock climbers. This research also provides insight into the providers' and guides' understanding of their clients' risk and safety perceptions, showing disparities between the clients' perceptions compared with the providers' and guides' understanding of their clients' risk and safety perceptions. The clients perceived themselves as being very well informed of the risks and hazards associated with their chosen adventure activity. This is in complete contrast to the opinions of providers and the guides. According to the providers and guides the clients' externalise the risk, they expect to feel safe, they expect the provider and guide to look after them, to be the safety net given the inherent risks associated with participating in adventure activities.

The main finding of this research is that neither the providers of adventure activity nor the guides, actively and knowingly address their clients' risk perceptions within the timeframe of the activity. This research develops a model which can be used by both providers and guides to consciously address their clients' risk perception when delivering their adventure activity.

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