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Adventure Tourism Toolkit

From the Rocky Mountains to wild rivers, vast deserts and open grasslands — Colorado’s natural resources make this state a gold mine for adventure tourism. Over 35 percent of Colorado is public lands, allowing for adventure to be accessible to visitors and residents. Since adventure tourism inherently takes place in natural environments, many opportunities exist for product development in rural communities. This allows for economic growth and small business development in areas seeking to diversify economic opportunities. Additionally, adventure tourism fosters a strong connection between recreationalists and the surrounding environment, which often leads to responsible behaviors. Adventure tourism is a great opportunity for sustainable tourism development.  

This toolkit is intended to provide a broad overview of adventure tourism concepts and trends, product development for communities and businesses, and other considerations that will support success. The toolkit is intended for communities or businesses interested in developing adventure tourism assets and products.  

1. Exploring Adventure Tourism - Adventure tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in the tourism industry. Learn about adventure tourism concepts and why Colorado is the perfect basecamp for all things adventure.  

2. Industry Trends - Adventure tourism activities tend to stay the same year after year, whether it is rafting, hiking or biking. However, other aspects of adventure change over the years: target markets, itineraries, marketing and more.  

3. Adventure Tourism Assets & Inventory - Do you have a detailed list of all adventure tourism activities available in your area? Review this section for ideas and strategies to create an adventure tourism inventory. An inventory creates the foundation for planning, product development and marketing.

4. Product Development for Tour Operators - Integrate the key components of a successful adventure tourism product. When developing adventure tourism products it is important to integrate current trends, product differentiators, accommodations and more.  

5. Business Development Considerations - A lot of work goes into creating a safe and enjoyable adventure experience. Get an overview of the various components that makeup a successful adventure tour operation.  

6. Sustainability & Accessibility - Sustainability and accessibility for all adventurers should be integrated into adventure tourism product development. Review ideas to creatively work with local organizations. Check out the Sustainable Tourism Toolkit for other strategies to implement sustainability.  

7. Case Study: Salida  - In just two decades, Salida transformed from a bedroom mining community to an adventure paradise. Salida is recognized internationally for the town’s creative use of existing resources to build an adventure hub with complimentary art and culinary experiences. 

8. Checklist for Adventure Tourism Development - This checklist is a helpful guide for communities, businesses or organizations in the adventure tourism sector. The checklist will help get you started in developing a successful product.

9. Resources Guide Document - Review helpful links to gain more insight on adventure tourism trends, product development, business development and other educational opportunities.