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Adventure or amusement? Image and identity challenges for the aerial adventure industry and implications for positioning and policy

Hansen, M and Fyall, A and Spyriadis, T (2020) Adventure or amusement? Image and identity challenges for the aerial adventure industry and implications for positioning and policy. Anatolia, 31 (3). pp. 423-435. ISSN 1303-2917

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Abstract

© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This paper seeks to address the changing image and identity of the aerial adventure industry as it becomes increasingly commercialized, which has led to uncertainty over its positioning within either adventure tourism or amusement rides. Such a positioning is critical in order to mitigate the problems caused by an inappropriate identification and image that contributes to poor inspections, poor procedures and policies, and ultimately, poor perceived risks and safety. In an industry where one serious injury impacts all operators, it is essential for all stakeholders to have collective “buy in” to effective policies that are standardized across the entire industry. The current identity confusion has merely led to misconceptions from public stakeholders. Through a qualitative case-study, this paper finds that aerial adventure parks share characteristics with adventure tourism and amusement rides and so resembles a hybrid. This is largely due to the presence of inherent risk and the role of the participant, both of which are less present on amusement rides. The paper therefore calls for state agencies to identify the activity as a stand-alone activity and for the subsequent regulations and policies to reflect this hybrid status.

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