Adventure sports and nature-based tourism: Assessment of canyoning spots in the North Region of Portugal
Keywords:assessment matrix; adventure tourism; nature tourism, canyoning; Portugal
The growing demand for natural areas and outdoor activities in the last decade, even more noticeable in the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic situation, has led to the intensification and diversification of nature-based tourism supply in many regions, including the provision of adventure recreation activities, such as canyoning. However, and despite the increasing interest of companies, destinations, and academia in this specific type of activity, there is limited information on resources, practice conditions, and assessments based on specific, objective criteria. This information is critical for a more competitive development and positioning of regions for this activity, and to meet tourists’ increasingly demanding expectations. Therefore, this paper aims at building upon the identified research gap, by characterizing and evaluating the existing conditions for canyoning activity in the North Region of Portugal, This evaluation of twenty-seven canyoning spots. was done based on an assessment matrix, comprised of specific criteria, grounded on the literature review and semi-structured interviews with companies’ owners/managers and experts. The study concludes that the activity is evolving in the region and there is still potential for development, due to morphological, favourable conditions. Moreover, the region offers different spots, often inserted in protected areas, with unique landscapes and natural diversity, which is attractive for tourism. The presentation of an assessment matrix (that allows the characterization and evaluation of canyoning spots on a systematic approach in different geographic contexts) makes this study a contribution to the literature on nature-based, adventure tourism and recreation activities.
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