Tourism Definitions , Types and Forms

Adventure Tourism

Definitions of Adventure Tourism:

According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, “adventure tourism is a tourist activity that includes physical activity, cultural exchange, or activities in nature.”

According to Muller and Cleaver, “Adventure tourism is characterized by its ability to provide the tourist with relatively high levels of sensory stimulation, usually achieved by including physically challenging experiential components with the tourist experience.”

Canadian Tourism Commission in 1995 defines adventure tourism as, “an outdoor leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote or wilderness destination, involves some form of unconventional means of transportation, and tends to be associated with low or high levels of activity.”

According to Sung et al,  “adventure tourism is the sum of the phenomena and relationships arising from the interactions of adventure touristic activities with the natural environment away from the participant’s usual place of residence area and containing elements of risk in which the outcome is influenced by the participation, setting, and the organizer of the tourist’s experience.”

According to UNWTO, ” adventure tourism can be domestic or international, and like all travel, it must include an overnight stay, but not last longer than one year.”

Types and Forms of Adventure Tourism:

  1. Hard Adventure Activities:

Hard adventure refers to activities with high levels of risk, requiring intense commitment and advanced skills. Hard tourism includes the activities like climbing mountains/rock/ice, trekking, caving etc.


  • Caving Tourism

The tour of exploring different kind of caves around the world.

  • Mountain Climbing

The touring for attaining, or attempting to attain, high points in mountainous regions, mainly for the pleasure of the climb.

  • Rock Climbing

Is traditionally seen as a niche sport, practiced by daredevils in high places such as Yosemite or the Alps and etc… But back home at my local climbing gym, this stereotype is changing, and you can see it happening in real time.

  • Ice Climbing

Challenge yourself with one of winter’s most exhilarating sports: ice climbing. In winter, many places become very suitable for ice climbers. Every type of climb can be found for climbers at all skill levels, from long alpine ice routes to short bolted mix and dry tooling routes.

  • Trekking

Discover the exciting tours in some beautiful regions from trekking the classic Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps to hiking the breathtaking La Gomera in the Canary Islands. Whether you are looking for a challenge, a breath of fresh air, a cultural escape or a group adventure and you will be on the most unforgettable adventure.

  • Sky Diving

Skydiving or Parachuting is a sport in which you exit a plane from altitude, freefall for a while and then deploy a parachute to fly safely to the ground.

Skydiving doesn’t work as a spectator sport because the action is too far from the ground. If you want to experience it, you have to buckle on a kit and get in that plane.


  1. Soft Adventure Activities:

Soft adventure refers to activities with a perceived risk but low levels of risk, requiring minimal commitment and beginning skills; most of these activities are led by experienced guides. Soft tourism includes the activities like backpacking, camping, hiking, kayaking etc.

  • Backpacking

Backpacker tourism is a key form of low-cost independent travel. As the name suggests, it means traveling “with a backpack,” which in decades past often meant a framed backpack strapped to an individual’s back but now involves many types of portable luggage while still metaphorically referring to self-directed journey routes and timings.

  • Birdwatching

Birdwatching tourism is a growing niche market, Especially the United Kingdom is a strong source market for birdwatching tourism. The Quality birdlife is key to a good birdwatching destination. This tourism’s destination must be both bird- and birder-friendly. Safety, accessibility and knowledgeable guides are important, as well as sustainability and additional activities.

  • Camping

Camping tourism represents a growing part of the overall tourism industry. Despite this fact, this form of tourism has so far been rather neglected by tourism and hospitality research.

  • Canoeing

Canoeing brings you close to nature and wildlife. As you follow the flow of the river you can take the time to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors. Not to mention, wildlife tends to be less shy and or frightened around paddlers, this allows you to spot things that walkers and cyclists rarely get to see.

  • Eco-tourism

Responsible travel  to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.  Ecotourism is nature-based tourism that involves education and interpretation of the natural environment and is managed to be ecologically sustainable.

  • Fishing

Its defined as the combination of Adventure and Eco tourism with a fishing goals around the world in all seasons.

  • Hiking

Hiking/walking tourism is considered to be special interest tourism and a challenge for local development. This activity has changed in recent decades from a leisure activity to a tourist activity, capable of generating economic benefits locally and contributing to the establishment of visitors, job creation for rural diversification, urban regeneration, and the preservation of the environment.

  • Horseback riding

It is defined as a combination of horse riding passion, the desire to go horseback riding in nature and the interest to visit places from other provinces, other countries or other continents, in order to reach special and unique places, to which we can only get on horseback”. All this with a touch of adventure since you sleep in camps, cross rivers and travel along gorges.

  • Hunting

means a hunter travelling to another municipality or country in order to hunt game for recreational purposes and to explore new hunting grounds

  • Kayaking/sea/whitewater

Is a fun activity that involves moving through water in a small water vessel with the aid of a double-bladed paddle. Kayaking is open to everyone, requiring no previous experience for its basic form other than a passion for exploring open waters

  • Orienteering

Is a group of sports tourism activities that require navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point in diverse and usually unfamiliar terrain whilst moving at speed. Participants are given a topographical map, usually a specially prepared orienteering map, which they use to find control points

  • Safaris

SAFARI is an exciting and adventurous way of seeing the ‘real wildlife’ because it enables you to view a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. As a result, going on a safari gives you an authentic experience of the wildlife.

  • Hiking & walking safaris
  • Tailor-made safaris
  • Photographic safaris
  • Birding safaris
  • Horseback safaris
  • Motorcycle Tours
  • Cycling Tours
  • Canoeing safaris
  • Big Five safaris
  • 4×4 Expedition safaris
  • Gorilla trekking tours
  • Wildlife tracking safaris
  • Culinary safaris
  • Whale watching safaris
  • Cultural safaris
  • Historical safaris
  • Family safaris
  • Eco safaris
  • Safaris for Seniors



  • Scuba Diving

Is the tourism industry based on servicing the requirements of recreational divers at destinations other than where they live. It includes aspects of training, equipment sales, rental and service, guided experiences and environmental tourism.

  • Snorkeling

Defined as individuals traveling from their usual place of residence, spending at least one night away and actively participating in one or more activities, including scuba diving, snorkelling, snuba or the use of rebreathing apparatus

  • Skiing

Is traveling by means of transport using skis to glide on snow. Variations of purpose include basic transport, a recreational activity, or a competitive winter sport. Many types of competitive skiing events are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

  • Snowboarding

Is a recreational tourism activity and Winter Olympic and Paralympic sport that involves descending a snow-covered slope while standing on a snowboard attached to a rider’s feet.

  • Surfing

Refers to trips where surfing is the main purpose. It is considered a form of adventure tourism. Surfing includes wave surfing, wind surfing and kite surfing.



Atomic Tourism

Definition of Atomic Tourism:

A relatively new but increasingly popular form of tourism is atomic tourism. Travelers interested in atomic tourism visit sites where atomic weapons were detonated, vehicles that carried atomic weapons and museums with atomic weapons, all with the intent of learning more about the Atomic Age. Atomic tourism provides a truly unique vacation experience, and some places in the United States allow tours only once a year, adding to the secrecy and mysteriousness of the Atomic Age, which only further increases the popularity of atomic tourism.

Types and Forms of Atomic Tourism:

  • Atomic Weapons Tourism
  • Atomic Vehicles Tourism
  • Atomic Museums Tourism

Bicycle Tourism

Definitions of Bicycle Tour:

Bicycle tourism can encompass many things, but has been defined by the Path Less Pedaled as “any travel-related activity for the purpose of pleasure which incorporates a bicycle.” Most types of bike tourism fall under these main categories (which often overlap), and can include road, gravel and mountain biking.


A participant or spectator in a cycling related activity that includes an overnight stay or a day trip, which is more than 50kms outside their usual place of residence.

Types of  Bicycle Touring:

  • Day Bicycle Touring

Day touring can consist of simply jumping on your bicycle and going for a ride that stretches for a span of 24-hours or less. This might just be a long bike ride near your home, a road trip where you travel by car and then spend part of your time cycling, or it could involve renting a bicycle in a foreign city/country and taking a spin around the local area.

  • Overnight Bicycle Touring

is a type of bicycle tour in which you spend one day riding your bicycle to a nearby destination (a friend’s house, campground, hotel, etc.) where you rest for the night and then spend the following day returning by bike to your home or starting location.

  • Credit Card Bicycle Touring

Credit card touring is when you travel by bike and pack almost nothing but the clothes on your back and a credit card (or cash) to buy things along the way. Instead of carrying a tent and sleeping bag, you pay to sleep in a hotel each night. Instead of cooking your own food, you buy food along the way. Credit card tours are typically (but not always) less than a week in length and are usually not supported by a touring company.

  • Light Bicycle Touring

Light touring refers to a type of bike tour in which you carry just a small load on your bicycle – usually in two panniers mounted on the rear rack of your bike.

  • Ultra-Light Bicycle Touring

Ultra-lite touring simply refers to a means of bike travel in which measures are taken to drastically reduce the size and weight of food, clothing and equipment so as to increase speed and the overall distance covered.

  • Supported Touring

A supported bicycle tour is any type of bike tour where you receive assistance from either a private individual, tour guide or touring company in carrying your gear and/or navigating along your route.

  • Guided, Self Supporting Bicycle Touring

A guided, self-supported bicycle tour is a type of tour where you are required to carry everything you need to survive on your bicycle (food, clothing, bike tools, etc.), but a guide from a touring company leads you along a specific route.

  • Bikepacking / Cyclocamping

Bikepacking and/or cyclocamping refer to a means of bicycle travel in which you cycle mainly off-road and carry a minimalistic amount of food, gear and clothing.

  • Mixed-Terrain Bicycle Touring

Mixed-terrain touring is a name that can be applied to almost any type of bicycle touring. While most bicycle tours are conducted on paved roads or bicycle paths, a mixed-terrain bicycle tour might require you to cycle across dirt roads and/or trails, snow covered passes, ice-laden tundra, or anything in between. Mixed-terrain touring can be guided, self-guided or self-supported.

  • Expedition Bicycle Touring

Expedition Touring is sub-sect of self-supported bicycle touring. The main difference between the two, however, is that expedition touring requires you to travel through remote areas, developing nations, and/or places outside of traditional bicycle touring roads and routes, while traditional self-supported bicycle touring is usually conducted on paved roads and in civilized countries.

  • Loaded Or Fully-Loaded Bicycle Touring

Refers to any bicycle tour where you are carrying four or more panniers on your bike. A loaded touring bicycle usually consists of two large panniers on the rear rack and two smaller panniers on the front. A loaded bicycle might also be equipped with a handlebar bag, rack pack(s), and/or additional gear on its front or rear racks.

  • Traditional Bicycle Touring

Traditional bicycle touring is the type of bicycle tour most self-supported bike tourists will participate in when they first start out. These individuals may eventually transition into off-road touring or other, more challenging types of bicycle tours, but most self-supported travelers start out as traditional bicycle tourists.

  • Bicycle Travel

any of the various types of bicycle touring, it is generally meant to refer to someone who travels by bike for long periods of time (typically for months or years on end).

Beach Tourism

Is defined as a travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes specifically on beaches. The tourist who came are beach bums. They like sea breeze and salt water.

Types and Forms of Beach Tourism:

  • Beach Cultural Tourism

Is the subset of tourism concerned with a traveler’s engagement with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life

  • Beach Ecotourism

Ecotourism is the, ” traveling to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural areas with the specific objective of studying, admiring, and enjoying the scenery and its wild plants and animals, as well as any existing cultural manifestation (both past and present) found in these areas.

  1. Mass Tourism
  2. Alternative Tourism


Definition of Geotourism:

Is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the distinctive geographical character of a place—its environment, heritage, aesthetics, culture, and the well-being of its residents.

Industrial Tourism

Definition of Industrial Tourism:

Can be defined as visits to sites which showcase a particular type of expertise from the past, present or future to the general public.

Medical Tourism

Definition of Medical Tourism:

Medical tourism refers to people traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment. In the past, this usually referred to those who traveled from less-developed countries to major medical centers in highly developed countries for treatment unavailable at home.

Types and Forms of Medical Tourism:

  • Hospitalization
  • Treatment
  • Medical Investigations
  • Change in Medication

Religious Tourism

Definition of Religious Tourism:

Is a type of tourism exclusively or strongly motivated by religious reasons. This is one of the oldest forms of tourism. It can also be referred to as faith tourism or spiritual tourism. People go on religious holidays to confirm, deepen or reflect upon their faith.

Types and Forms of Religious Tourism:

  • Long term religious tour
  • Short term religious tour
  • Pilgrimage Tour
  • Religious Conferences Tour

Rural Tourism

Definition of Rural Tourism:

Rural tourism may be defined as the movement of people from their normal place of residence to rural areas for a minimum period of twenty-four hours to the maximum of six months for the sole purpose of leisure and pleasure. Rural tourism refers to all tourism activities in a rural area.

Types and Forms of Rural Tourism:

  • Agritourism:

although often used to describe all tourism activities in rural areas, more frequently either term relates to tourism products which are ‘directly connected with the agrarian environment, agrarian products or agrarian stays’: staying at farm, whether in rooms or camping, educational visits, meals, recreational activities, and the sale of farm product or handicrafts.

  • Farm Tourism:

explicitly farm-related and most usually associated with tourism involving staying in farm accommodation and seeking experiences from farm operations and attractions.

  • Wilderness and Forest Tourism:

tourist explores the wilderness and natural beauty of the rural area. It may be implicitly included within notions of rural tourism, or they may be regarded as separate. In wilderness and forest tourism, tourists travel to the natural habitat of plants and animals.

  • Green Tourism:

Green tourism refers to tourism in the countryside or green areas. It is more commonly used to describe forms of tourism that are considered to be more environmentally friendly than traditional, mass tourism. In rural areas, green tourism is an important form of rural tourism.

Green tourism is portrayed as an approach to tourism development which seeks to develop a symbiotic relationship with the physical and social environment on which it depends and implicitly seeks to attain sustainability ideals.


Definition of Ecotourism:

It is a form of nature tourism (tourism to natural, unspoiled areas) which assumes active promotion of environmental conservation and direct benefits for local societies and cultures, together with the provision for tourists of a positive, educative experience. Ecotourism is a group of sustainable tourism activities occurred in the natural environment.

Space Tourism

Definition of Space Tourism:

Space tourism is human space travel for recreational purposes. There are several different types of space tourism, including orbital, suborbital and lunar space tourism. To date, orbital space tourism has been performed only by the Russian Space Agency.

Types and Forms of Space Tourism:

  • Orbital Space Tourism
  • Suborbital Space Tourism
  • Beyond earth Orbit Tourism

Sports Tourism

Definition of Sports Tourism:

Sports tourism refers to travel which involves either observing or participating in a sporting event while staying apart from the tourists’ usual environment. Sport tourism is a fast-growing sector of the global travel industry


Sustainable Tourism

Definition of Sustainable Tourism: 

Sustainable tourism is the concept of visiting somewhere as a tourist and trying to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy. Tourism can involve primary transportation to the general location, local transportation, accommodations, entertainment, recreation, nourish.

Virtual Tourism

Definition of Virtual Tourism:

A virtual tour is the simulation of an existing location with the help of sequential videos or still images. Other multimedia elements like music, sound effects, floor plans, etc., could also be used. They help in recreating a realistic representation of reality. Virtual tours help in presenting views to inaccessible areas and provide an interesting and excellent alternative to fieldwork when expenses, time or logistics are an issue for people.

Types and Forms of Virtual Tourism:

  • Regular Virtual Tour
  • Historical Virtual Tour

War Tourism

Definition of War Tourism:

War tourism is recreational travel to active or former war zones for purposes of sightseeing or historical study.

Types and Forms of War Tourism:

  • Modern Wars Tour

Visiting places that is under war or recently was under war.

  • Historical Wars Tour

Visiting places which faced wars in the past.

Wildlife Tourism

Definition of Wildlife Tourism:

Is defined as trips to destinations with the main purpose of visit being to observe the local fauna. This therefore implies that wildlife tourism includes other niche markets such as bird watching and the exploration of marine life.

Prepared by:

Suhair Khan

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Scroll to top

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.