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Between Risk and Comfort: Representations of Adventure Tourism in Sweden and Switzerland

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The aim of this study is to analyse how adventure is constructed and represented as an experience to purchase and to examine the particularities of a process of commodification of adventure transforming a theoretical concept into a range of activities labelled as “adventure”. Sweden and Switzerland are two countries that offer adventure tourism through similar activities but yet in a different geographical and cultural context. Written messages produced by the national tourism boards of Sweden and Switzerland are analysed using a reading grid that incorporates the main components of the concept of adventure tourism as identified in the literature. The theoretical foundations of adventure are compared with its empirical foundations once translated into experiences to purchase. The analysis reveals that the two sets of discourses mostly gravitate around the same themes: first, a strong emphasis on safety and comfort but paradoxically on thrill as well, second, an adventure represented as a unique, authentic and sometimes even spiritual experience that almost everyone can access, and third, surprisingly no reference made in the promotion material to two notions essential to the theoretical concept of adventure: risk and uncertainty.
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Keywords: Sweden; Switzerland; adventure tourism; discourse analysis; risk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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