The Importance And Motivation Behind The Research Tourism Essay

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

The following chapter will outline the background for the author's research project and reflect upon the importance and motivation behind the research using a rationale. The aim and objectives will be defined within this chapter, as well as the methodological context of the research, to define the scope of the study.

New Zealand, or Aotearoa as it is referred to by the Maori, is located in the South Pacific Ocean, 2162km from Australia (Immigration NZ, 2010 and CIA, 2010). The country is made up of two islands, the North Island and the South Island, and has a total land area of approximately 268,000 kilometres (see Figure 1).

Cooper and Hall (2005) state that New Zealand boasts a diverse and dynamic tourism industry, with its importance in the economy highlighted by figures released by the Ministry of Tourism (2002). The figures show that tourism in New Zealand is a NZ$13.2 billion industry, accounting for 9.7% of the nations GDP. One key sector of the tourism industry in New Zealand is 'Adventure Tourism' which has grown rapidly in recent years as outdoor recreation has become increasingly commercialised (Cooper & Hall, 2005, Buckley, 2000, Travel Industry Association of America 2005 as cited in Buckley, 2006).


Queenstown, marketed as 'the adventure capital of the world' (Tourism New Zealand, 2010), is located in Otago in the south-west of New Zealand's South Island (see Figure 2). The total land area of Queenstown is 4,578km2, supporting a population of 20,000 (Tourism New Zealand, 2010).

Figure 2 - Queenstown Map

Source: Tourism New Zealand (2010)

The town lies on the western side of Lake Wakatipu, south-west of Mt Cook and south-east of Mt Aspiring. Neighbouring towns and districts include Arrowtown, Wanaka and Alexandra. Queenstown is surrounded by mountainous terrain, as seen in Figure 3. Further pictures of Queenstown can be seen in Appendix A.

Figure 3 - Photos of Queenstown

A view of Queenstown during the winter months

Queenstown View 2.PNG

Source: Destination Queenstown (2010)

A view of Queenstown during the summer months

Queenstown View.PNG

Source: Destination Queenstown (2010)

New Zealand offers a wealth of tourism attractions which are centred around its natural endowments including its diverse landscape - the platform for adventure activities (TGNZ, 2008, Cooper & Hall, 2005 & Buckley, 2006). Tourism New Zealand (2009) uses this natural environment as a means of marketing the popular resort of Queenstown as 'the adventure capital of the world'.

"It is this remarkable natural landscape that makes New Zealand an adventurer's paradise. Mountains rise vertically from valley floors providing countless hiking, climbing and skiing opportunities. Fishing, golf, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, parapenting, bungee jumping, diving and swimming are but a few of the adventures you can experience in this diverse land of plenty"

(Tourism New Zealand, 2009)


The motivation for the research project lies in the Author's interest and experience, in both New Zealand and within the adventure leisure industry. The author travelled to New Zealand as part of a holiday (November-December, 2007) and she has also undertaken an industrial placement in the hospitality industry in Auckland as part of her undergraduate degree course (July-December 2009). This allowed for extensive travel across New Zealand and the chance to participate in a variety of adventure leisure activities. To exemplify, the Author has participated in 2 bungy jumps, a zorb experience, quad biking, 2 commercial jet boat rides, kayaking, dune boarding and a luge, all of which were undertaken in New Zealand (see Appendix B). The Author has also travelled to a series of other destinations and undertaken other adventure leisure activities such as skiing, snowboarding, offroading, diving, abseiling, surfing and hiking.

The Author's ambitions for the future have also driven this study as she hopes to work in the tourism industry in New Zealand in the future, with the possibility of developing a business in the adventure leisure industry. This had led to the development of the following aim for the research project.


"To evaluate the growth and development of the adventure leisure industry in New Zealand, using Queenstown as a case study destination."


This aim will be met by addressing the following objectives:

To identify the factors that have contributed to the growth and development of the adventure leisure industry in New Zealand.

To analyse the growth and development of adventure leisure in Queenstown, New Zealand.

To critically evaluate the factors that have influenced the growth and development of adventure leisure in Queenstown, New Zealand and to make recommendations for the future management of the sector at this destination.


The report will comprise of five chapters, including a literature review, which will be the next focus of the study. The literature review will analyse and evaluate the secondary research which has previously been undertaken on Adventure Leisure and New Zealand. The themes that will be discussed will include the theory of adventure leisure, destination development and the factors that can both contribute to and threaten the growth of adventure leisure within a tourist destination such as Queenstown, New Zealand.

Following the literature review, the methodology chapter will examine the variety of methods that can be used for research and data collection and will provide a justification for the methods which have been used within the study. A critique of methods which have not been used will also be provided in this chapter.

The results chapter will follow the methodology and present the relevant findings from the research using the themes discussed in the literature review. An analysis and discussion of these results will then be made.

The penultimate chapter will conclude with a critical reflection of the findings of the study and make recommendations for the future management of the adventure leisure sector within New Zealand.



2.1 Introduction

The review of literature aims to discuss and analyse the literature available on the subject whilst incorporating the authors own knowledge to provide a detailed background to the study and to develop a theoretical framework for the report.

The information provided within the literature review was obtained from journals, the internet, books, newspaper articles and tourism organisations.

Adventure Leisure and Adventure Tourism/History and Development

To enable an understanding of the literature to be reviewed, it is necessary to gain a comprehensive understanding of the term 'Adventure Leisure'.

Ewert (1988 as cited in Ewert & Hollenhurst, 1989:125) defines adventure leisure as

"A variety of self initiated activities utilising an interaction with the natural environment, that contain elements of real or apparent danger, in which the outcome, while uncertain, can be influenced by the participant and circumstance."

To further emphasise what is meant by the term 'Adventure', Swanbrooke et al (2007) summarises the core characteristics of adventure in Figure 1.

Figure 1 - Core Characteristics of Adventure

Core Characteristics of Adventure

Uncertain outcomes

Danger and risk


Anticipated rewards


Stimulation and excitement

Escapism and separation

Exploration and discovery

Absorption and focus

Contrasting emotions

Source: Swanbrooke et al. (2003) Consumer Behaviour in Tourism

Cloutier (1998) states that over the last decade, adventure leisure activities have become much more socially acceptable forms of mainstream activity.

Sung et al. (2000) suggested a list of 48 adventure travel activities, developed from previous literature (Ewert, 1989; Hall, 1992; Speciality Travel Index, 1992 - Appendix C). Due to emerging trends and changes within the industry a modified list of adventure leisure activities has been created (Buckley, 2006). This is shown below in Table 1.

Table 1 - Outdoor Adventure Travel Activities

Outdoor Adventure Travel Activities

Activities identified by Sung et al. (2001)

Additional Activities

Arctic Trips



Bridge Swinging


Horseback Riding






Heli Skiing




Ice Climbing


Jungle Exploring


Jet boating

Bungy Jumping







Sea Kayaking


Mountain Biking

Survival and Wilderness Training



Mountain Climbing



Dog sledding



White-water Kayaking




White-water Rafting

Four Wheel Drive Trips


Walking Tours





The appeal of the adventure market has widened, resulting in the recognised growth to the adventure tourism industry (Mintel, 2001, Buckley, 2006, Cloutier, 1998, Novelli, 2005).

Hall and Weiler (1992: 143) provide one of the most frequently cited definitions of adventure tourism, which is used as a basis by academics such as Johnston (1992) and Sung et al (1997);

"A broad spectrum of outdoor touristic activities, often commercialised and involving an interaction with the natural environment away from the participants home range and containing elements of risk; in which the outcome is influenced by the participant, setting and management of the touristic experience"

2.3 Adventure Leisure History

The history of leisure and recreation goes back a long way, exemplified by the historical knowledge we share of ancient civilizations enjoying some form of entertainment and recreation. For example, Greeks visited amphitheatres to enjoy comedy and dramas, Romans would be entertained in the Coliseum and the Bible discusses singing, dancing and music as acceptable forms of recreation. Weber (2001) states that adventure recreation originated from traditional outdoor recreation, yet differs from the latter as it seeks "risk and uncertainty of outcome" (Ewert, 1989:8). Adventures in history, such as the voyage of Pytheas (c. 330 BC), Pizarro's journey to Peru (1526) and Cook's expedition to Tahiti (1768-71), were originally associated with the exploration of faraway destinations to search for land, wealth and scientific advances but later shifted to incorporate the individual desires for adventure (Weber, 2001).

Due to the changing needs and wants of consumers over the past decade and the development and reformulation that tourism as a phenomenon requires, international niche areas of tourism, such as that of Adventure Tourism, have developed (Page, 2003 and Novelli, 2005).

To understand the development of an adventure tourism destination the key factors that can contribute to and hinder the development will now be explored.

2.4 The Environment

The use of the words 'natural environment' in both the definition of adventure leisure and the definition of adventure tourism shows the importance of this element within the adventure leisure destination and experience.

Buckley (2006) states that the geographic setting can be a defining feature for most adventure tourism products, as the natural world provides us with the resources to undertake adventurous activities. The geographic setting of an area can comprise of polar ice caps, mountains, oceans and also deserts which offer readymade challenges for adventure tourists (Swarbrooke et al. 2007). Activities can be created and adapted to the natural environment or can rely on the geographic features to independently provide the activity.

The environment has also been recognised as the motivation behind adventure, in that there is a "human desire or drive to experience what is hidden and unknown" (Quinn, 1990).

"We are attracted by a deep forest or lake because it gives the impression that there is some truth to discover, some secret to abduct from the heart of the object. It is the eternal seduction of the hidden"

(Dufrene, 1973:398 as cited in Weber, 2001)

With the view by many academics that the natural environment or geographic setting is central to the adventure leisure experience and destination, Hall and Weiler (1992) argue that the environmental setting plays only a subordinate role as its purpose is to provide a backdrop to the setting, while the activity itself is what attracts the individual.

2.5 Accessibility and infrastructure

2.6 Activities

2.7 Marketing

2.8 Regulations and Policy

2.9 Risk Management

2.10 Butler's (1980) Destination Lifecycle

Butler's destination lifecycle (Figure 2), a hypothetical evolution model, is recognised by a number of academics (Page, 2003, Haywood, 1986, Agarwal, 1994, Cooper et al. 1998 and Evans et al. 2003). The model can be used to illustrate the evolution processes of destinations due to the rise and fall in popularity (Beech & Chadwick, 2006 & Cooper, 1993).

Figure 2 - Butler's (1980) Destination Lifecycle Model

Source: Butler (1980)

Butler (1980) suggests that destinations evolve through a six to seven stage process of exploration, involvement, development, consolidation, stagnation, decline and possible recovery. The exploration stage is apparent when few people visit the resort and their presence has little impact. During the involvement stage the number of visitor arrivals increases and the benefits of tourism are noticeable, leading to an increased effort in marketing the destination. Tourism benefits are reaped during the development stage and a noticeable increase in the number of tourist facilities is seen. Sharpley (1994) states that during the consolidation stage the resident population are vastly outnumbered by tourists who are staying in an identifiable tourist zone during the peak season.

A typical pattern in the development of a tourism destination is outline by Laws (1995). He states that the destination experiences a gradual increase in arrivals until a crisis level is reached. After this has occurred the destinations character is altered, with the amenities and infrastructure refocusing on the needs of the tourists, rather than the residents.

Criticisms of the destination lifecycle have been made, stating that it is best used as a descriptive tool, rather than as a prescriptive tool (Cooper, 1993). However, those in support of the model argue that it can contribute to the understanding of the present position of a destination, allowing a basis on which to develop future managerial strategies (Beech & Chadwick, 2006).




The following chapter will provide a justification for the research methods used within this dissertation based on the nature of the question which is to be answered. The use of secondary research will be analysed, focusing on the strategic case study method which forms the basis of the research project. Primary research is also considered, with the reasons for its use explained within this chapter.

Secondary Research

Advantages of Secondary Research

Restrictions of Secondary Research

Primary Research

Unsuitable Methods of Data Collection

Case Study

Justifying the case selection

A high-quality case study needs to be defended on the basis that it is suitable. The case study can be justified on the grounds that it is a typical instance or a test site for theory. Denscombe (2003) states that a typical case 'is similar in crucial respects to others that may have been chosen'. The findings from the study undertaken can be applied to other similar cases. Selecting a case as a test site for theory reflects the relevance of the case based on previous theory (Yin, 1994).