Adventure, leisure and SMART approaches in tourism for the changing global and Irish demographic.
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The following is initial primary research undertaken to assist with refining the research question for a part time PhD study. Specifically, it explores the perceptions and attitudes of both the ageing demographic and providers of outdoor adventure activity (OAA) in popular tourism locations in Ireland to engaging the older population in OAA. While research into the impact and health benefits of physical activity (PA) outdoors is available in other countries, in an Irish context there is a dearth of research on PA, perceptions of the older population, providers and attitudes to this cohort’s participation in OAA. Specific research regarding OAA and its potential to enhance older adults’ (OAs) participation in PA is negligible. This research proposes to close that gap. The criteria for those who participated in the research to date required them to be highly functioning, community dwelling and engaged in activities within their communities. Providers of land and water based activities were randomly chosen using a web search and personal contacts the researcher has developed through his own OAA. Perceptions and attitudes of participants and providers to OAA were investigated using a mixed method, concurrent approach of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. This approach is considered useful when addressing issues such as perceptions, understanding and statistical analysis of questionnaire responses (Driscoll et al., 2007; Choy, 2014; Marshall and Rossman, 2014). Findings support the notion that older adults will engage in PA through OAA if facilitated. However, this initial research suggests that OAA providers do not target this demographic.
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