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  • Even After the ‘Titan’ Submarine Disaster, Demand for Extreme Travel Has Never Been Higher

The tragedy threatened to derail one of the tourism industry's fastest growing sectors. Instead, experts say demand has never been higher.

Sharael kolberg, sharael kolberg's most recent stories.

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Scaling the highest peaks, diving to the depths of the ocean, taking a flight to space—these trips are not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, so-called “extreme tourism” is booming.

“During the pandemic, people were sitting at home, examining their lives, which created a pent-up demand for making travel a priority,” says Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) President Shannon Stowell. “Now, adventure travel is exploding. The concept of small group travel in remote locations is way more appealing, compared to visiting over-touristed locations.”

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“It hit the core for so many people, in terms of fascination and anxiety about the risks that people are willing to take to experience something so extreme, “says Matt Berna, Intrepid Travel president for the Americas. “We were hoping for the best result, which didn’t come. Innately, that’s going to ripple through our industry. It has shed light on the fact that there’s a lot that goes into running a qualified, highly safe, inspected and reputable trip.”

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Remarkably, mere months on, experts says that the OceanGate disaster hasn’t put off travelers who were already eager to push their limits—especially wealthy travelers who have the means and time to accumulate unique experiences that come with bragging rights.

In 2021, the global adventure tourism market was valued at $282.1 billion, according to a report by Grand View Research. It’s now projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 percent from 2022 to 2030, with the hard adventure segment representing a significant revenue share of more than 20 percent. This is credited to a gradual increase in the number of travelers that are willing to take high-risk activities and are open to adventures.

“A little bit of risk is good because it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something,” says Massimo Prioreschi, president and CEO of Mt. Sobek, an adventure tour operator offering trips such as polar region adventure cruises. He says he’s personally seen an uptick in year-over-year bookings. “But the more extreme the activity, the higher the chance of death. It’s good to know what you’re getting into—and the tour company should qualify you, as well.”

Nepal, Solo Khumbu, Everest, Sagamartha National Park, Roped team ascending, wearing oxygen masks

Tim Tuiqali, guest experiences manager at VOMO, adds that “no line has been drawn between adventure sports and the Titan implosion.”

“It hasn’t affected our business,” he says. “We are actually seeing a steady increase in interest. At a luxury level, we understand that safety is paramount. Our guests put a lot of trust in us. We’ve been offering the shark dives for more than 15 years and haven’t had any incidents.”

Lifelong explorer Milbry Polk, co-author of “Women of Discovery,” emphasizes that travelers need to choose companies that have very good track records.

Others even argue that would be adventurers should not be put off by the Titan catastrophe. While OceanGate did blur the lines between scientific expedition and tourist attraction for the uber-wealthy, the research being generated was genuine and in the true spirit of exploration. Their goal was to research the ecosystem of the deep North Atlantic Ocean, and to gain a better understanding of how and why some communities of organisms develop in geographic isolation, while others range broadly across the ocean floor.

In the Wall Street Journal , Explorer’s Club President Richard Garriott de Cayeux wrote, “Harding and Nargeolet [Titan crew members[ were individuals who relentlessly pushed boundaries for the betterment of science. Critics may label their expedition as ‘extreme tourism,’ and perhaps it was, but it was their spirit of exploration that propelled them to seek, experience and learn…we will not stop exploring.”

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Extreme tourism: ‘If it was safe, that’s not an adventure’

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Tomaž Rotar knows a thing or two about life and death in extreme environments. In February 2021, the Slovenian oral surgeon was sitting inside a cramped tent 7,300m up K2, the world’s second highest mountain. More than 20 climbers had gathered in the dark on the snowbound ledge, arriving at the camp in worsening winds and temperatures that were already below -30C. 

To stand a chance of reaching the summit as the weather window they had been chasing began to close, they would have to set off again almost immediately.

Most of the climbers there that night did the sane thing; they sat tight and descended at dawn, many swallowing the fact that they had paid guiding companies at least £20,000 for a chance to reach the summit in winter, a feat that had been achieved for the first time only weeks earlier. Others felt moved to step back into the darkness and attempt what they had flown halfway around the world to do.

Rotar was among seven climbers who made the decision to go on. He only turned back hours later when he came across an unexpected crevasse. Three other climbers managed to get across it, and continued. When they failed to return, a frantic search gripped the world’s media as military helicopters and even a fighter jet scoured K2.

All three men died that night. It would be months before their frozen bodies could be found. As Rotar has followed news updates about the Titan submersible this week with a familiar feeling of dread, he has been reflecting on the calculations wealthy adventurers make when they face that vital decision: do we stay, or do we go?

“It’s the same kind of people who feel the same kind of draw, whether it’s to go deep under the sea, or to climb very high, or to run very far,” he says. “It’s a kind of sickness, like a venom in your veins that makes you want to go. Because you want that beautiful feeling that comes when the danger is over and you know you have achieved something. And then you don’t even know how you lived before that, so you go back and you do it again.”

At the extreme and often prohibitively costly end of the travel industry, a niche has grown to meet demand for variations on that same feeling. From the oceans, to the mountains, to polar ice sheets, to active volcanoes — and now the vast expanse of space — people are increasingly prepared to pay small fortunes in pursuit of big, sometimes dangerous dreams.

Even the South Pole — which, after Scott’s ill-fated visit in 1912, went unvisited by humans until 1956 — is now offered in tourist brochures. The US Amundsen-Scott South Pole station is shadowed by another facility, about half a mile away: a tourist camp that welcomes visitors with a sign announcing “the world’s southernmost resort”. Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions, which runs the camp, offers a range of ways to get there, including the “South Pole Overnight” trip at $65,000 — guests simply fly there and back (and are presented with a certificate on their return).

Two figures seen in the distance walk across a snowy expanse

Interest in visiting Antarctica — the world’s coldest, highest, windiest continent — is surging, with the large majority of people arriving via cruise ships and landing in small boats. The number coming ashore doubled from 26,000 in the 2014/15 austral summer season to reach 55,000 in 2019/20. (Data from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators also records some of the activities they undertook: the most recent season saw tourists go stand-up paddleboarding 598 times, snorkelling 1,661 times, snowboarding 766 times and making 4,217 dives in submersibles.)

As with other areas of the “extreme tourism” world, tour operators are increasingly blurring the lines between holidays and expeditions. As well as fly-in trips to the South Pole, ALE offers a range of itineraries that casual observers would assume were the preserve of professional explorers. Want to ski from the edge of the continent to the Pole, a 60-day epic, battling temperatures down to -30C? Just head to the ALE website and, if you can manage the $85,000 price tag, click the “book now” button. The trip will be led by an experienced guide (though it’s up to you whether you mention that in your press release and Insta-posts).

Particularly popular is the “ski the last degree” expedition, where guests are dropped by plane 69 miles from the Pole (one degree of latitude), then trek there on skis over about five days, giving those on a tight schedule the flavour of a classic polar crossing. According to IAATO, numbers taking part in the $75,000 trip tripled in the three years to 2019; those interested can head off on December 7 or 14, or January 4 next year.

“We push our clients as far as they want to go, from abseiling to zip lining to getting a taste of what it’s like being a polar explorer,” says Patrick Woodhead, a record-breaking Antarctic adventurer and founder of the luxury Antarctic operator White Desert.

Starting in 2005 with three tents and two clients, White Desert now runs three camps, each for 12 guests, offering cocktails and chef-prepared meals, a yoga pod, sauna and library. Transport options include a Gulfstream private jet (a service that Hamish Harding, one of the five people who died on the Titan submersible, was involved in setting up); clients typically pay around $100,000 per visit. “I think that this kind of travel is exactly what people are looking for,” says Woodhead. “When people come to Antarctica, they are disconnected from their phones . . . they’re in an otherworldly situation and environment and that very much changes people.”

Though tourism is growing more normal in Antarctica, risks remain. The US Coast Guard is currently carrying out an investigation after four cruise-ship tourists were killed in three incidents at the end of 2022. Two died after an inflatable boat capsized, one when a “rogue wave” hit the ship, and another fell and hit his head in rough waters.

Yet one of the odd things about extreme tourism is that risk seems to attract rather than deter customers. Just two days after a volcano erupted on White Island off New Zealand in 2019, killing 22 people, a boat guide in Whakatāne, the town closest to the volcano, told reporters that he had begun receiving new inquiries from tourists who wanted to go there. One woman wanted to see White Island close up “to feel the fury”.

A woman looks out of an aircraft at smoke rising into the air from an island

“It’s the same kind of thing that the Romantic poets talk about when they talk about the sublime in nature, the spectacles that take us out of ourselves and transcend the day-to-day human experience,” says Amy Donovan, a geographer and volcanologist at Cambridge university who has watched demand grow ever higher for proximity to spewing ash and lava. When Fagradalsfjall erupted in Iceland’s Reykjanes peninsula in March 2021, more than 350,000 people flocked to the site over the following 10 months.

After two people died in the Clipper Round The World yacht race in 2015/16, applications increased. When the celebrated US extreme skier Doug Coombs was killed in 2006 in an accident in La Grave, France, an event reported at the time as “like Superman dying”, guides noticed an uptick in inquiries from American tourists wanting to ski there.

Disaster also sells in the Himalayas. The deadly 2021 winter season on K2 — which claimed the lives of two climbers in falls, as well as the three who were lost near the summit — only increased demand for attempts on a mountain that is far more dangerous than Everest. Last summer, about 200 people reached the summit of K2, more than triple the previous record.

“People want to climb Everest because it’s dangerous and involves risk,” says Lukas Furtenbach, an Austrian mountain guide specialising in premium expeditions to Mount Everest (his packages cost up to $217,000, including personalised, professional-level video and photography). “If nobody died and it was 100 per cent safe, that’s not an adventure and I think demand would decrease.”

This year’s Everest season saw a record number of climbers — and a record number of deaths, 17. Furtenbach, whose clients all safely reached the summit, is increasingly concerned about what is happening when money, ego and the human urge to seek thrills collide in dangerous places. “I would say 14 of these deaths could have been avoided with very simple safety protocols,” he says. “Four of them were clients who went missing on summit day. Other people ran out of oxygen. These things should be impossible, and it’s happening because operators are not regulated.”

Not all extreme travel involves physical exertion. Woodhead, the White Desert founder, is this weekend in Equatorial Guinea, speaking at the inaugural “Most Traveled People” conference. The event caters to “competitive travellers”, a rapidly expanding group who attempt to visit as many places as possible on Earth, logging their visits online to climb up the league tables. Having decided the 193-long list of UN-recognised countries was too easy to complete, enthusiasts have divided the world further — MTP’s list now runs to 1,500 countries, regions, territories, dependencies, island groups and so on. (Currently top of the leaderboard is Harry Mitsidis, 51, who has reached 1,362 of them).

MTP is not alone. Since 2009, the Extreme Traveler International Congress has run meetups for tourists wanting to go beyond the brochures. Venues have included Baghdad, Mogadishu and Rockall, a granite islet in the north Atlantic.

“I think there’s a growing awareness that it’s possible to get to these kind of places,” says James Willcox, whose company Untamed Borders offers trips to destinations including Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen and has organised events for ETIC. “Previously, if a destination wasn’t in the Thomas Cook brochure and there wasn’t a Lonely Planet guidebook, people just had zero information. Now it is fairly easy to find out about anywhere online, and social media has this normalising effect — once you start looking, you see that other people are going, however unlikely the destination.”

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The drive to tick boxes and complete defined challenges runs through much extreme travel. As reaching the “seven summits” (the highest mountain on each continent) has become common, adventurers have strived for the “explorer’s grand slam” (the seven summits plus North and South Pole), or even the “explorer’s extreme trifecta” (the highest and lowest places on Earth, Everest and Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, as well as space). A new generation is now rushing to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks, often using extensive helicopter support to do so. Critics have pointed out that the approach creates a small number of “honeypot” objectives, while ignoring less well-trodden paths.

The wider phenomenon of buying adventure has long precedents, says Leo Houlding , a professional climber with a string of groundbreaking expeditions to his name. “Since the beginning of exploration, wealthy people have patronised and paid to join expeditions,” he says. “In the so-called golden age of European alpinism, the peaks were being climbed by rich Britons using hired local guides — some were probably good climbers, others were probably paying to go so they could dine out on it.” Nevertheless, the trend has “exploded” in the past decade, he says.

A space capsule carried by parachutes floats down to an empty flat landscape

Space offers the lure of a new frontier. Virgin Galactic is due to launch its first commercial space flight next week — a two-hour experience that will reach about 55 miles above the Earth’s surface. Already 800 people have bought tickets, which now cost $450,000. Meanwhile, the Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin rocket reaches 62 miles in a flight of just 11 minutes; since its first crewed flight in 2021, passengers have included the Star Trek actor William Shatner, the undersea explorer Victor Vescovo and Hamish Harding.

A more leisurely option is Space Perspective, an eight-person capsule that will be carried to about 19 miles (the stratosphere, rather than space) beneath a balloon. Guests are promised “No rockets. No g-force” but rather a gentle “meticulously crafted” six-hour flight “complete with a meal and cocktails”. The company hopes to launch late next year, tickets are already on sale at $125,000 per head.

Many of the operators are developing tourism and commercial space travel in tandem, and extreme travel increasingly cleaves close to science and conservation. Whereas White Desert’s Woodhead started his company by hitching a lift on a Russian cargo plane taking scientists to Antarctica, he says his planes now deliver about 250 scientists to the continent each year, the same number as his high-paying tourists. Original Travel is currently offering a £52,000-per-person trip to Botswana in which tourists will help with the release of a dozen relocated rhinos.

Jimmy Carroll of tour operator Pelorus recently organised a trip for a wealthy family that involved chartering a yacht with an on-board helicopter to Antarctica. At the client’s request, Carroll organised the charter of a second yacht, with a second helicopter, to accommodate a team of research scientists who would also teach the client’s 12-year-old daughter.

Pelorus offers access to submersibles too, of the sort that have become de rigueur aboard expedition superyachts — the increasingly in-demand vessels designed to access the harshest seas without sacrificing comfort. Some of Carroll’s clients recently chartered U Boat Navigator, a 24m yacht which sleeps six and is equipped with two submersibles. Both are built by Triton, whose underwater vehicles, which cost up to $40mn, have been used to film the BBC Blue Planet series. The Florida company was given a boost last year when it welcomed two new investors: the billionaire American hedge fund manager Ray Dalio and James Cameron, the Titanic movie director and submariner.

“People are intrigued by the fact that 70 per cent of the world is covered by water and we have seen very little of it,” Carroll says. “And I think the likes of David Attenborough ’s programmes have definitely helped spark imaginations.”

Four smiling astronauts seated in a space capsule

Perhaps the most extreme tourist of all splashed back down to Earth last month after an eight-day visit to the International Space Station. John Shoffner, 67, former chief executive of the fibre-optic cable company Dura-Line, was one of three astronauts who had bought places on Axiom’s second trip to space; the company hasn’t said how much they paid but previously reported ticket prices of $55mn. Like many adventurers, Shoffner has form across multiple disciplines: he takes part in 24-hour car races at Germany’s Nürburgring, skydives and BASE-jumps and has raced across America by bike without support.

Why does he do these things? “Well, they’re fun,” he says . “They help you find your edge — I would say your limit, but you don’t really want to find the limit.”

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The Wild World of Extreme Tourism for Billionaires

Three climbers walking up snowy mountain with the Mount Everest peak in the background

It was less than an hour off the coast of Greenland that Jules Mountain began to question his sanity. The British entrepreneur was completing the second leg of his eight-day attempt to become the first person to fly a Bell 505 light helicopter across the Atlantic. “I had to go over freezing fog at 14,500 feet or ice would build up on the vehicle’s blades,” he says. “It was -14 degrees Celsius and the high altitude meant I was gasping for air. And then I worked out I had 30 minutes’ worth of fuel remaining.”

Mountain was flying the helicopter from Montreal to Guernsey: a nearly 4,000-mile journey that included fuel stops in the frozen wastelands of Northern Canada, Greenland, and Iceland. He says he took on the challenge when he realized the helicopter’s range was 350 miles and that it could fly only three hours at a time. It meant his longest leg required pumping fuel mid-flight.

“My previous goal was to trek to the North Pole, but it felt too easy,” says Mountain. “It didn’t feel dangerous enough: You could get rescued at any moment. Whereas with this challenge, flying over icebergs and forests far from civilization, an engine failure might mean death. And that’s when the adrenaline rush hits—it’s when you feel most alive.”

Mountain, who has also summited Everest, is one of many businesspeople taking on extreme adventures around the world. British billionaire Hamish Harding and Pakistani British executive Shahzada Dawood were among the passengers aboard the Titan submersible that disappeared in the North Atlantic Ocean on June 18. Operated by OceanGate, a US company that builds and launches manned submersibles, Titan was part of a tourist expedition to observe the wreckage of the Titanic at a depth of about 12,500 feet.

On June 22, remains from Titan were located by a remote-controlled underwater search vehicle about 500 meters from the wreckage of the Titanic , roughly 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. The US Coast Guard believes all five passengers died following a catastrophic implosion .

The extreme tourism industry is niche, but growing. A swelling number of companies have emerged to facilitate dangerous adventures for the super-rich. OceanGate began offering trips aboard Titan to the site of the Titanic wreckage in 2021; seats on the latest, ill-fated trip cost $250,000 per person. However, safety concerns were raised as early as 2018, during Titan ’s quality-control stage, including questions about the 6.7-meter vessel’s experimental carbon-fiber hull structure (typically, deep-diving subs have hulls made from metal) and lack of industry certification. Past passengers have also shared details of problems with communication, navigation, and buoyancy during their 12-hour round trip to the Titanic .

With such extreme adventures, the work of operators is naturally risky. Seattle-based mountaineer Garret Madison offers bespoke expeditions to unnamed, unclimbed Himalayan peaks through his company, Madison Mountaineering. He explains that the average Everest death rate is 1 percent—a higher figure than for US service members in recent conflicts. “It’s the exhilaration of being on the mountain and coming face-to-face with danger that’s so attractive.”

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Since the pandemic, Madison has noticed an uptick in high-net-worth individuals booking out entire expeditions. “One client bought a whole trip to climb Mount Vinson in Antarctica for $200,000 last year,” he says. “It’s the latest trend: billionaires wanting their own private adventure with friends; they fly to Antarctica in a private jet. It’s next-level.”

Although his mountain expeditions are high-end, Madison says they come with minimum comfort. The greatest luxury he offers, he adds, is at Everest base camp: Warm showers, yoga sessions, and a dining tent with a movie screen are among the amenities on the $75,000 excursion. “The guys that come on my adventures ultimately want to suffer a little bit—that’s how they feel alive. Otherwise, they’d be staying at a Four Seasons five-star resort somewhere.”

However, a cottage industry of luxury extreme tourism also exists. White Desert Antarctica offers premium accommodation near the South Pole for $15,000 a night, replete with heated, opulently furnished pods and private chefs. Harding had also done that trip. “Hamish has been a true friend to White Desert for many years,” founder Patrick Woodhead said in a statement. “He has traveled with us to Antarctica a number of times, including with astronaut Buzz Aldrin when he visited.”

With these extreme tourism companies, safety generally comes with a high price tag. Madison says his service offers networks of expert guides and logistical know-how, as well as Western and Sherpa teams that coach, assist, and lead adventurers 8,000 meters above sea level. Extra oxygen, good food, and enhanced communications are also provided. “But you can do Everest cheaply and climb with your own tent and without a guide,” says Mountain. “There are plenty of operators that offer a rudimentary service—and that’s when it can get really dangerous. You’re left on your own.”

OceanGate appears to have had its feet in both camps. As the sole tourist operator providing trips to see the Titanic —and Titan one of only a handful of manned submersibles capable of reaching 12,500-foot depths—tickets weren’t cheap. At the same time, conditions inside the sub were far from luxurious, and the dive carried considerable risks. OceanGate’s waiver not only mentions death three times on page one , Titan was bolted from the outside—leaving those inside to survive on a finite amount of oxygen and rely on external support to get out of the sub, even after surfacing. The vessel was also controlled by a modified video game controller. “No one going on board would have been under any illusions that it was safe,” says Mountain. “That’s part of the appeal: The wreck is incredibly inaccessible, dangerous to visit, and steeped in mythology. And very few people have done it.”

Grace Lordan, associate professor in behavioral science at the London School of Economics, says these dangerous expeditions have superseded luxury items for thrill-seeking entrepreneurs. “Pleasure and purpose tend to determine happiness, and it used to be about material purchases and philanthropy. Over time, redistributing wealth still provides purpose, but pleasure is harder to attain.”

Ego is also a factor, says Lordan. “Luxury products are more available to the masses now. And we all want better dinner party anecdotes. So entrepreneurs, who tend to have a higher tolerance for risk, are increasingly desiring experiences that very few others have done.” They’ve already achieved the extraordinary feat of establishing major companies, Lordan explains, so now they want to push themselves in their personal lives.

These throwback explorations—climbing a mountain or crossing the ocean—are also a way for billionaires, many of whom have accumulated their wealth through digital transactions, to experience their physical limits in the face of mortal danger.

“The demographic is mostly men in their fifties and sixties, looking to feel alive,” says Madison. “They want to traverse the Khumbu Icefall or the northern ridge of Everest’s death zone, rather than just sitting behind a desk and watching their net worth accumulate on a screen. The closer you perceive death, the more alive you feel.”

Mountain completed his transatlantic helicopter flight in July 2020. It was a self-organized trip, during the height of the pandemic, arranged through the Canadian, Danish, and Icelandic authorities. As a pilot, he was exempt from Covid-19 restrictions. “It was a bonkers idea, but being an entrepreneur means being very driven: You want to push boundaries and prove you’re in a different capacity to others. And it was such a rush—when I reached Scotland I knew it was the home straight, I was celebrating.”

The Titan tragedy underlines the reality that, by their nature, these kinds of extreme adventures mean dicing with death. But therein lies the appeal. “These challenges will always come with risk,” says Mountain. “Otherwise, everyone would be doing them.”

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A submarine underwater.

Danger, prestige and authenticity draw thrill-seekers to adventure tourism

extreme tourism article

Associate Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of South Carolina

Disclosure statement

Scott Smith does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

University of South Carolina provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

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The tragic news of the destruction of the Titan submersible has brought attention to the thrilling, dangerous and expensive world of extreme tourism.

As a researcher who studies hospitality and tourism management , I pay attention to the trends in tourism and study ways in which organizations like theme parks and resorts operate and change over time.

Tourists are generally seeking more authentic experiences that occur without prescribed paths or known endpoints. Technology can often make the extreme environments of adventure tourism more safe, but at the bottom of the ocean, the vacuum of space or the cold of a mountain summit the consequences of failure can be high.

A group of people sitting in an open jeep near a lion.

Adventure tourism as authentic tourism

In recent years, there has been a trend in the tourism industry toward authentic experiences . More and more, people want to experience something unique and not in a preprogrammed or controlled setting.

An example of the difference between authentic and inauthentic tourism is the difference between a zoo and a safari. Zoos are built to allow large crowds of people to easily view unique and often dangerous animals. Zoos are typically a spectator experience and are very safe, but they offer little opportunity for visitors to interact with the animals.

A safari in Africa, by comparison, provides a much more authentic experience by removing a lot of the safety barriers between you and the animals. Most safaris bring a limited number of tourists, with guides who can provide closer interaction with the animals in their real environment. This, of course, also increases the risk for tourists, as the barriers and safety features found in a zoo don’t exist in the wild. The sense of danger that comes from authentic tourism often adds to the adventurous traveler’s experience .

The final appeal of adventure tourism is the status or prestige of a dangerous, expensive trip . Almost everyone can afford to visit a local zoo, whereas an African safari requires a level of spending that is a display of your status and income.

The same authenticity, danger and prestige apply to many types of adventure tourism, whether it is mountaineering, space tourism or trips to the bottom of the ocean.

A submersible on the surface of the water.

Technology doesn’t always mean safety

As technologies have improved, companies and tourists have been able to push the limits of safety for many activities. For example, over the past 30 years, roller coasters have gotten progressively taller, faster and more extreme to capture the attention of thrill-seekers . These rides are able to maintain high levels of safety thanks to better engineering and technology.

The narrative that advanced technology provides safety in extreme situations typically helps to reassure tourists the activity they choose to engage in is safe. The reality is that any activity – whether it’s crossing the street or visiting the wreck of the Titanic – will always carry some level of risk. The problem is that many of these extreme activities take place in very dangerous environments and have incredibly small margins for error. When something does go wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic or, as with the case of the Titan submarine, fatal.

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Prevalence and legal limits

It is hard to get exact numbers on extreme tourism deaths per year, but when these sad events do occur, they typically receive a lot of attention from the press . As a tourism researcher, I follow these types of stories and feel comfortable saying that very few occur in the U.S.

In the U.S., there are federal , state and local tourism boards and agencies. More often than not, specialized agencies regulate activities most relevant to their areas of expertise – for example, the Federal Aviation Administration regulates space tourism , and national park and state park agencies permit mountaineering in many places. These organizations generally promote tourism and safe practices, but no amount of regulation and oversight can absolutely guarantee anyone’s safety. And for many activities, like deep-water tours, there is no mandatory certification process.

Perhaps the best advice for people seeking authentic, thrilling experiences would be to use the idea of “buyer beware.” If you are choosing to engage in extreme tourism, ask questions about what safety procedures are in place for whatever activity you are choosing to do. And if you are not comfortable with the answers you get, move on to another company or activity.

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From Titanic tours to space exploration: extreme tourism is on the rise 

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China has provided more than 2.3 billion yuan ($316.4 million) in funds to help with rescue efforts, emergency supplies and planning as deadly floods and landslides caused by almost two weeks of torrential rain ravage several parts of the country.

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The Titanic Sub and the Draw of Extreme Tourism

Diving to the bottom of the ocean is risky. So is flying to space. But people will keep paying to do both.

Four small warning signs in a passport that read "danger," "caution," "warning," and "notice"

The submersible craft’s journey to the bottom of the ocean and back was supposed to take about eight hours . Two and a half hours for the descent, a few hours to explore the century-old wreckage of the Titanic, and then another two and a half hours to return to the surface.

But the sub and its five passengers have now been missing in the Atlantic Ocean for three days. In that period, it has had no communication with the rest of the world. American and Canadian crews are searching the sea for any sign of the vessel, and time is against them. According to a U.S. Coast Guard official, the submersible has a finite supply of emergency oxygen, which is dwindling by the hour. What began as an adventure has turned into a frantic rescue operation.

The voyage, as grim as it seems now, is one of many treacherous tourism options for the wealthy. The lost submersible, named Titan, belongs to OceanGate Expeditions, a research and tourism company specializing in deep-sea excursions, which has charged $250,000 for a ticket to the Titanic. Wealthy adventurers could also pay hundreds of thousands to fly to the edge of space, or millions to orbit the Earth. When traveling to such dangerous, exotic environments, disaster is always a risk. And yet, people pay considerable money to take it on.

Read: What it’s like to be at the bottom of the ocean

As the rescue efforts continue, details about the submersible experience have emerged. The expensive voyage is far from luxurious. David Pogue, a CBS journalist who traveled on the submersible last year, recently called the cramped vehicle, with as much room inside as a minivan, “janky.” Before he boarded, Pogue signed a waiver that described Titan as an “experimental submersible vessel that has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and could result in physical injury, disability, emotional trauma, or death.” The New York Times reported today that a few dozen submersible experts, oceanographers, and deep-sea explorers wrote a letter in 2018 to OceanGate’s CEO—who is on board the missing vessel—expressing concern about the safety of the sub.

People still signed up, of course. The reason some human beings are drawn to such extreme tourism is rather straightforward, if slightly unsatisfying: They’re just like that. “We’re all wired a little bit differently,” James Petrick, a professor at Texas A&M University who studies tourist behavior, told me. Researchers categorize travelers and their motivations along a spectrum: On one end are the risk-averse psychocentrics , who travel least often and to familiar spots. On the other end are the risk-embracing allocentrics , who travel often and are more adventurous. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, Petrick said: “You may go on a vacation and bungee jump, but you want the comforts of your hotel room the rest of the time.”

Adding to Titan’s appeal was the submersible’s destination, the site of the most famous shipwreck in history, where more than 1,500 people perished. Visiting such gruesome places is part of a phenomenon known as “dark tourism.” Countless visitors travel to the sites of concentration camps, battlefields, and Ground Zero. Dark tourism brings out “something that we all have in common, which is our demise,” says J. John Lennon, a tourism professor at Glasgow Caledonian University, in Scotland, who coined the term with a colleague. “The means and method of that demise seem to exert an enduring fascination over many of us.” (Again, some of us are just like that.)

Read: There’s nothing wrong with posing for photos at Chernobyl

Tours of places such as Auschwitz can have historical and educational value; OceanGate says that every deep-sea dive involves some scientific research, and passengers are given the title of “mission specialist.” But the real draw is obvious in this now-deleted marketing line: “Become one of the few to see the Titanic with your own eyes.” The narrative surrounding the Titanic as an “unsinkable” ship further shrouds the wreckage in intrigue, turning a trip to the depths into “something between learning and voyeurism,” Lennon told me. Petrick wondered whether, as awful as it sounds, the story of the missing submersible might make the deep-sea location even more appealing for potential travelers.

Most can’t afford a $250,000 submersible trip, or any of the other kinds of travel popular with the ultra-wealthy. Consider space tourism, which is finally becoming routine after years of anticipation. A ride to the edge of space with Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s space company, costs $450,000. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin hasn’t publicly divulged its prices for its own edge-of-space trip, but one seat seems to have gone for $1.25 million. Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which takes passengers into orbit and to the International Space Station, charges many more millions . Flying to space is becoming as much of a status symbol as climbing Mount Everest, and the spacefarer club is much more exclusive. “If you can go a step further than the pack, if you can do something more daring, intriguing, and enigmatic than the others—and if it’s photogenic—all the better,” Lennon said.

Read: The new ‘right stuff’ is money and luck

For those who can afford it, the draw of high-risk adventure is, apparently, irresistible. Among the five passengers on the OceanGate submersible is Hamish Harding, an aviation businessman and seasoned adventurer , who has set a diving record in the Mariana Trench and traveled to Antarctica with Buzz Aldrin. Last summer, before he joined the submersible voyage, Harding was a passenger on Blue Origin.

extreme tourism article

Inside the World’s Rarest Experiences: Why the Rich Love Extreme Tourism

O n June 18, 2023, the submersible Titan lost contact with the outside world as it approached the wreckage of the Titanic 13,000 feet below sea level at the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Among the five people on board were ultra-rich extreme tourists who paid $250,000 each to cram into the makeshift sub and descend into the abyss.

Four days later, on June 22, an international search was called off when officials determined that Titan had imploded, killing all aboard.

Check Out: Dave Ramsey’s 10 Best Tips for Building Wealth: ‘Start Thinking Like Rich People’

Read More: 6 Genius Things All Wealthy People Do With Their Money

The next day, on June 23, Business Insider reported that it was unlikely that the tragedy would deter the world’s wealthy elite from paying top dollar to risk their lives for the sake of so-called “extreme tourism” — high-end, hardcore adventure travel that requires money most people will never have for experiences that most people would never want.

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Living It Up After COVID: You Have To Die of Something

The lifting of pandemic-era restrictions triggered an avalanche of cash into the extreme tourism realm as the rich lined up to part with small fortunes to experience the last remaining (mostly) unseen, untouched corners of the world and beyond.

Grand View Research reports that the extreme tourism industry was worth $322 billion in 2022 but is on pace to top $1 trillion in 2030.

Much of the enthusiasm comes from COVID itself.

Like everyone else, the rich watched helplessly as friends and loved ones died from humdrum daily tasks like trips to the grocery store or visits to the doctor’s office. Gone forever, their fortunes unspent, many rich survivors vowed to live their lives to the fullest, even if it killed them.

“More and more wealthy travelers are diving into extreme tourism because they understand how fleeting life can be,” said Frank Spitzer, CEO at Pelecanus , a luxury travel operator that specializes in upscale vacation packages in Colombia. “This mindset of embracing life’s unpredictability is pushing them to seek out thrilling adventures and extravagant getaways before change is ahead. Also, they can easily afford these extravagant expeditions, so why not?”

So, what, exactly, are these ‘extravagant expeditions’ and how much do they cost?

Saving Money: 6 Frugal Habits of the Super Rich and Famous

If You Have All the Money in the World, Why Not Leave It?

The Titanic wreckage sits roughly 2.5 miles below the surface of the ocean. That’s just a short stroll compared to the journey that space tourists take when they travel up and away from Earth’s oceans to a different kind of abyss.

Axiom Space is a privately funded space infrastructure corporation that flies missions to the International Space Station and its own Axiom Station. It offers so-called “private astronauts” the chance to visit space and view their home planet from the emptiness of the final frontier. 

The company states, “Missions with Axiom include 17 weeks of expert training at space agency facilities that only a privileged few get to see. Training prepares the participant as an astronaut, develops a deep camaraderie with fellow astronauts and truly inaugurates one as a member of the exclusive space traveler family.”

Understandably, none of that comes cheap. Axiom Space doesn’t disclose the per-person cost of its private astronaut program, but estimates each seat sells for roughly $55 million.

Jet-Setting, Redefined

Some people would rather see the world than float above it — and they might not have eight figures to plunk down even if they did. For them, extreme tourism involves cramming as many experiences in as short a time with as much luxury as humanly possible.

Companies like Abercrombie & Kent organize mind-boggling global private jet tours like Around the World with Geoffrey Kent. It costs $185,000 per person — but think of what you get for the money.

The excursion takes place over 26 days, and in less than a month, the rich will receive insider access to local spots that regular tourists can’t visit in Japan, India, Malta, Senegal, Saint Helena, Uruguay, Easter Island and French Polynesia.

Their tour bus is a chartered Boeing 747 with full lie-down first-class seating, a dedicated staff and a chef. Wherever the passengers go, a valet, concierge, guide and luggage handler follow.

They probably won’t risk their lives, but they will experience the most extreme and expensive globe-trotting that money can buy.

Pursuing Extreme Animals and Environments

Another mainstay of extreme tourism is, naturally, the pursuit of the extreme — extreme wildlife, extreme environments, extreme weather, etc.

For example, Abercrombie & Kent — just one of several ultra-luxe extreme travel providers — offers the following packages that allow the rich to pursue the planet’s wildest side in style:

  • North Pole Expedition Cruise: From $47,995 per person
  • Arctic Cruise Adventure — In Search of Polar Bears: From $20,495 per person
  • Kenya and Tanzania Wildlife Safari: From $11,995 per person
  • Climb Kilimanjaro — Summiting the Machame Route: From $8,495 per person
  • The Great Migration Safari in Style: From $19,795
  • Galapagos Wildlife Adventure: From $11,495 per person
  • Patagonia, the Last Wilderness: From $11,495 per person

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This article originally appeared on : Inside the World’s Rarest Experiences: Why the Rich Love Extreme Tourism

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An aerial view of Fjaorargljufur Canyon in Southern Iceland


Should some of the world’s endangered places be off-limits to tourists?

Experts weigh in on what can be done to mitigate overtourism.

Habitat loss, overtourism, and the consequences of climate change have put more and more travel destinations at peril, even as the pandemic’s forced shutdowns gave once tourist-trampled places a breather.

This prompted us to ask our newsletter subscribers and Facebook followers the question: “Should there be places on Earth that are closed off to visitation? Should the wilderness be restricted in some way?”

Responses swamped our inbox, with most making arguments for limiting tourism. “The last few decades have taught us so much about what happens to wild places when people trample them,” wrote Margaret Cervarich, pointing to the trash pileup at Everest base camp.

“Many pristine and protected areas should be off-limits to humans completely, in my opinion. And a carefully evaluated few should be allowed for scientific studies,” wrote Charlisa Cato. Several, including Alper Takci, felt the limitations need to go further: “We should seal the whole planet off to humans.”

The water running through Fjaorargljufur Canyon in South East Iceland

Indeed, some places have closed to travelers temporarily, including Iceland ’s Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon— made viral in a Justin Bieber video. Maya Bay, in Thailand’s Phi Phi archipelago, was overrun and its coral destroyed following the 2000 movie The Beach with Leonardo di Caprio. The beach, which has been closed since 2018, may soon reopen under stricter conditions. Other destinations have banned specific activities: In Hawaii , a new law   goes into effect on October 28 prohibiting swimming with spinner dolphins.

We put the same question to the experts. Most agreed that locking places away from people is not the answer. “I am opposed to the idea that you would, at face value, ban tourism to fragile places,” says Jeremy Sampson, of the UK-based Travel Foundation , a nonprofit working to improve the tourism industry. “The fact is that certain kinds of tourism can help protect natural resources or preserve heritage.”

Strategies to ease overcrowding

There are many cases where interventions have helped to mitigate overcrowding. Last July, Italy banned large cruise ships from entering Venice ’s waters and declared the city’s lagoon a national monument. Bhutan has for decades pursued a “ high-value, low-volume ” strategy, with prices only luxury travelers can afford, while investing in the preservation of nature and culture. Some destinations—including Amsterdam —have all but stopped actively marketing the city to tourists, switching objectives from “destination promotion” to “destination management” for the welfare of locals.

“We have many examples of visitor management systems that work to limit visitation in vulnerable places,” says Greg Klassen, a tourism strategist based in Vancouver. “For example, many national parks have areas open to visitors by first-come, first-served, lottery systems.”

Such measures have been gaining traction. In 2017, Peru limited access to Machu Picchu to two timed entries each day and restricted travelers to specific trails. Some of the new, stricter pandemic-era restrictions—visitors having to buy tickets for specific hours rather than half-day blocks, for example—will likely be permanent. In the U.S., Rocky Mountain and Yosemite National Parks recently introduced a timed-entry permit system to manage pandemic crowds. While temporary, they point to potential strategies for reducing congestion in the future.

( Can overtourism be made sustainable? )

Timed entry and lottery systems were also suggested by reader Wayne Woodman, who wrote, “I think a lot of our wilderness and national parks are being overwhelmed and need to be restricted. So yes. I would favor stringent controls with access based on a lottery basis so as not to restrict those less fortunate.”

Yet, lines and lotteries won’t solve everything. “It’s not just about the math. People always want to introduce a carrying capacity, and I think it’s just too simplistic. There could be other more nuanced solutions,” says Sampson. One idea is to make visitors promise to behave better. In recent years, destinations such as Iceland, New Zealand, Haida Gwaii , and the island of Hawaii have asked tourists to sign visitor pledges on or before arrival. The wording varies, but most ask visitors to tread lightly, protect nature, and respect the culture.

a couple watches a sunset near the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station in Hawaii

“Most visitors to Palau were not aware of what constituted reasonable behavior,” notes Klassen, who helped develop the Pacific country’s pledge. “A marine protected area covers the entire archipelago, yet visitors were taking home coral from the reefs, leaving debris and garbage behind, and in some cases behaving badly.”

The pledge outlines what visitors should and shouldn’t do (“Don’t collect marine life souvenirs . Do learn about the culture and people,” and unlike others, this one is enforced with fines of up to $1 million. “Even in places where they are voluntary, pledges still provide a level of education and commitment—even modest changes to visitor behavior can be helpful,” adds Klassen.

Growing a conservation economy

In some places, particularly in Africa , strictly controlled tourism is key to wildlife conservation, and its income is vital to residents who might otherwise resort to extractive industries to survive.

“In Rwanda , high-value tourism permits generate over $18 million per year, contributing to the repopulation of gorillas from a mere 254 in 1981 to 600 in 2019,” notes Tiffany Misrahi, vice-president of policy and research for the World Travel and Tourism Council.

Tourism is therefore crucial to the preservation of these wild places. “If these forgotten forests in the heart of Africa are not connected to the people of the world,” says Praveen Moman, founder of Volcanoes Safaris , which for 25 years has been bringing limited numbers of guests to Uganda and Rwanda to view mountain gorillas and chimpanzees, “there’s a very big danger that they could disappear altogether.”

Often left out of the conversation are the world’s Indigenous peoples— the ones who have kept the planet in balance for millennia.

“You can take a map of the environmental hotspots around the world and lay over it a second map of culturally endangered places, where indigenous peoples and their languages and traditions are struggling to survive. They are almost identical,” says Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey , a Polynesian filmmaker, anthropologist, and National Geographic Explorer.

( Skip the crowds and visit these hidden gems instead. )

“So when we talk about place, we must also talk about people. We need the wisdom of those who have stewarded the land for thousands of years. We need to learn from them and nurture our own interconnectedness with the natural world.”

In Canada , on the coastal fjords of British Columbia , within the Great Bear Rainforest, lies a swath of land the size of Ireland that protects thousand-year-old trees and the rarest bear in the world. Within it, Spirit Bear Lodge —owned and operated by the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation—welcomes visitors from all over the world whose dollars revitalize local communities and fund further conservation, including a successful effort to stop bear hunts.

an aerial view of the coastal lake in an old growth forest

“The elders always say, ‘What we have here is not ours, we’re just holding it for the next generations,’ and that’s really important in everything we do,” says Douglas Neasloss, chief councilor of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation. “The community has made clear it’s not just about money but about the future. We’ve been able to revitalize our culture and create a sustainable business model where we’re not pulling out a fish or cutting down a tree.”

To help connect social and conservation enterprises to travelers who might otherwise converge on the same fragile sites, the country of Jordan , along with the nonprofit Tourism Cares, created a “meaningful travel map” of the country. It pinpoints 12 experiences that tread lightly, disperse travelers, and have a big community impact. The program has been so successful that a similar map is planned for Colombia .

Closing off places to visitors should perhaps be left as the last resort, and some respondents to our original question agreed. “In order for endangered places to be preserved, there must be a minimum number of people allowed to wonder at and be fascinated by them,” wrote Ebrahim Hamad. “People will not protect what they do not know.”

Starting with the end in mind

Another idea: Build a destination from the ground up. Rising up in Saudi Arabia ’s coastal desert on the Red Sea , in an area the size of Belgium, is a city-to-be called Neom. Plans call for the preservation of 95 percent of nature, “with zero cars, zero streets, and zero carbon emissions.”

“It’s one of the first destinations in the world entirely driven by regenerative tourism principles,” says Paul Marshall, Neom’s chief environment officer. The destination plans to use technology to transform the way people engage with nature and conservation, instead of channeling them into a visitors center.

“We want to have an inside-out visitors center using technology such as AR/VR to project [an image] while people are outside in nature,” says Marshall. “This won’t be nature pretending to be in a building; this will be educational information projected onto the real landscape.”

There are other technology applications. Just as Instagram and other social media contribute to the destruction of fragile places as copycats follow influencers to places “for the ‘gram,” some are using the same methods to reverse the damage.

The Leave No Trace organization, along with destinations such as Jackson Hole , encourages travelers to use generic rather than specific geotags to reduce the chances of a specific site being overrun. And the virtual reality that kept travelers “traveling” to destinations during the pandemic could be easily deployed to ease the burden on fragile destinations. France’s famous Lascaux caves , closed since 1963, has been sharing the site’s remarkable prehistoric art through a replica cave, a high-tech traveling exhibition, and virtual tours on its website.

“Achieving a future that allows access to places without harming them is no easy task. Individuals mean well... but have you ever found a group of people who absolutely agree on everything?” asks reader Barbara Cool. Perhaps not, but it’s crucial that we act.

“The question we should really be asking is how can travel be used as a tool to solve these global problems? Because it can,” says Sampson.


While on-the-go, keep in mind  these ways to travel sustainably . Avoid traveling to overtouristed places when you can. Mitigate crowding at fragile areas when you use social media. The Leave No Trace organization , along with some destinations, encourage travelers to use generic rather than specific geotags to reduce the chances of a specific site being overrun. If traveling to destinations such as Iceland, New Zealand , Haida Gwaii , and the island of Hawaii  be sure to sign and adhere to visitor pledges to tread lightly, protect nature, and respect culture.

Norie Quintos  writes and blogs about the world of travel from a cultural perspective. Find her on Twitter.

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Titan sub tragedy: ethics of extreme tourism in the spotlight

Booming demand needs to be balanced by greater awareness, oversight and regulation

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Base camp on Mount Qomolangma in Shigatse, Tibet

The Titan sub tragedy, which claimed the lives of five people last week, has prompted an outpouring of grief but also renewed questions about the risks of so-called “extreme tourism”.

What we know about the Titan sub’s likely implosion Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin: the new space race? 16 travel trends of 2023: ‘Swiftonomics’ and embarrassing dads

It has shone a spotlight on the safety procedures of private companies offering such experiences and on the people and organisations who should ultimately be responsible for search and rescue if the unthinkable happens.

While extreme exploration – from Everest to the Antarctic – has long been the preserve of professionals, “in recent decades, travelers with deep pockets and little expertise have joined these explorers or even ventured further, paying to visit the bottom of the ocean or the edge of space , touching the literal bounds of Earth”, The New York Times reported. But as the Titan submersible tragedy made evident, “there are no clear safeguards in place when something goes wrong”.

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Technology ‘pushing limits of safety’

There is a trend towards authentic experiences, said Scott Smith, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at the University of South Carolina, on The Conversation . “More and more, people want to experience something unique and not in a preprogrammed or controlled setting.”

Improvements in tech have enabled companies and tourists to “push the limits of safety”, but “the consequences of failure can be high”.

With little-to-no oversight of the sector it is hard to gauge the number of extreme tourism deaths per year, said Smith, “but when these sad events do occur, they typically receive a lot of attention from the press”.

Despite this, “one of the odd things about extreme tourism is that risk seems to attract rather than deter customers”, said the Financial Times . The paper listed a series of tourism-related fatalities over the past decade – a period that saw an uptick in the number of people wishing to sign up.

Uncharted territory

As modern adventure tourism “ventures into uncharted territory ethically as well as geographically” it “raises many questions”, said The Seattle Times . “Should there be more regulation? If so, who should set and enforce the rules? Are rescue operations even possible in some places extreme tourists are going?”

In the case of both deep-sea exploration and space tourism there is little oversight or guidance on training requirements and even less regulation. In international waters or the upper edge of the Earth’s atmosphere there is the added question of jurisdiction, while extreme trips also pose a significant challenge from an insurance perspective.

With the total cost of the Titan search and rescue operation expected to reach as high as $100 million, “it is unclear whether taxpayers in the countries involved, ultimately, will be required to pay it”, said The New York Times.

There is also a growing debate around whether domestic – often volunteer – search and rescue teams should be expected to risk their own lives to come to the aid of private companies charging huge amounts per person.

Meanwhile, the Titan disaster has “sparked conversations among explorers and wealthy travelers alike about who exactly should be embarking on this type of danger-filled travel”, said The New York Times.

One suggestion is that extreme tourism experiences should come with “buyer beware” warnings, said Smith.

Another, reported by Axios , is that new technology such as the metaverse, where a virtual reality headset would allow you to tour any place on Earth, “might offer an alternative to the real risks of adventure for some customers”.

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Extreme Tourism Is a Booming Industry for the Rich, But Is It Ethical?


By Bethanie Hestermann

In June, the world was gripped by the disappearance of a deep-sea submersible that was taking paying customers—essentially, tourists—more than 2 miles deep into the ocean to visit the Titanic wreck site. The customers aboard the OceanGate vessel Titan were seeking the adventure of a lifetime, and they had paid handsomely for it. 

What the passengers got instead was a real-life version of the terrors outlined in the waiver they’d signed before stepping foot on the submarine. After a frantic five-day search, the U.S. Coast Guard determined that the Titan had in fact imploded, killing everyone on board. The vessel couldn’t stand up to the pressures of the deep.

The debacle raises questions about this type of extreme tourism—the kind in which ordinary people (often ordinary rich people) do extraordinary things, like summiting Everest, going up into space, and diving into the deep sea. Is this ethical? Is it fair? Is it reckless? sought perspectives from three people who have interest in and experience with these areas of extreme tourism: high-altitude trekking and mountaineering, space flight, and deep-sea dives. Here’s what they had to say.

Everest, A Playground for the Rich

extreme tourism article

It was a deadly spring climbing season on Mount Everest, which boasts the highest peak on Planet Earth. Reports suggest 17 people have died on these icy slopes in 2023. Already a sort of frozen graveyard, where doomed mountaineers like “Sleeping Beauty” and “Green Boots” serve as trail markers and somber warnings to those who shuffle past, Everest is certainly not for most. 

In recent years, though, it’s become more accessible to anyone who fancies themselves worthy of this hallowed peak—as long as they can pay the price, which can, in some cases, exceed $100,000. Nepal’s government issued a record number of permits in 2023 to people keen to summit. Is this exclusive adventure becoming a bit too accessible? 

Gelje Sherpa knows a thing or two about Everest and high-altitude trekking. He was the sherpa who, in May , helped rescue a Malaysian climber from Mount Everest’s “death zone.” Since he began his high-altitude career in 2017, 30-year-old Gelje has summited 13 of the 8,000-meter peaks and remains the youngest person to summit K2 in winter. He’s also led more than 25 successful expeditions to 8,000-meter peaks, including Everest, and he’s participated in more than 50 rescues across several peaks and trekking expeditions. 

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gelje Sherpa (@gelje_sherpa_)

Gelje makes his living guiding gung-ho climbers to the highest places in the world, but he’s also seen how humbling these expeditions can be, even to those who arrive prepared. So what does he think about Everest’s growing popularity and accessibility?

“The world of high-altitude mountaineering has exploded in the past years, and as [a] guide I have seen firsthand the impacts this has had,” Gelje said in an interview with . “More and more people are embracing this concept of ‘nothing is impossible,’ mostly because of documentaries that have been released. This, to some people, means turning up to an 8,000-meter peak with no training and no idea of the skills involved. This is deadly. More and more people are involved in accidents because they just don’t know how to look after themselves.”

He suggests that not every person with deep pockets should be able to show up and get a permit to climb Everest—that’s a recipe for disaster. If the number of permits continues to increase every year, it’s possible the number of deaths will increase, too (although, it’s worth noting that most people blame climate change for the high death toll this year).  

Another problem is that as demand increases, companies raise their prices, essentially making the trek too expensive for many who are qualified to attempt the climb.

“[The] way it’s looking, yes, it’s just becoming a playground for the rich,” Gelje said. “Everest for sure is getting more and more expensive each year and limiting to people who have had this dream to climb it but could never afford it. [. . .] It’s a huge shame because Everest is such a stunning mountain to climb, but it’s just too overcrowded now, it takes away the beauty of it all.” 

“We also have to control how we move forward, potentially being more selective with clients who can receive a permit to climb an 8,000-meter peak,” he added. “This could mean making sure they have already summited a 6,000er before or [passing] a basic test to see their knowledge, et cetera.”

Another way to keep the danger factor in check, Gelje said, would be to limit permits. He doesn’t think this solution would go over very well, though.

“I think the only way to do it is by restricting permits to people who have the proper experience before coming to an 8,000er,” he explained. “However, this is highly unlikely, as it would probably half the number of people coming to Everest, and both the companies and the government would probably not back that idea.”

Gelje believes it’s also important to keep the sport open to newcomers who deserve the opportunity to try to make their dreams come true. In fact, asked whether “ordinary” people should be climbing Everest, Gelje is all for it, as long as they have the right experience. 

“Adri, my climbing partner, was an ‘ordinary’ person five years ago, but she trained hard and it was obvious, and now she is a mountaineer,” Gelje said.

Gelje and Adriana Brownlee “Adri” own AGA Adventures , and they help people grow in the mountaineering space and prepare for their dream quests, whether that’s trekking Annapurna Circuit or climbing Everest itself. Between the two of them, Adri and Gelje have three Guinness World Records, 30+ 8,000-meter peak summits, and 40+ mountaineering expeditions under their belts.

Space, the Final Frontier, Conquered?


Earlier this summer, a Blue Origin rocket engine exploded during testing at a facility in Texas—a harsh reminder that spaceflight is a dangerous undertaking. Blue Origin is Amazon-founder Jeff Bezos’s private space company that has successfully taken paying customers up into space aboard the New Shepard rocket, which is named after American astronaut Alan Shepard. 

Dylan Taylor was aboard the New Shepard on December 11, 2021, when he became one of the relatively few humans who have traveled to space—and one of even fewer humans to have traveled to space as a commercial astronaut. 

Taylor is a business leader and philanthropist. He is the chairman and CEO of Voyager Space and founder of the nonprofit Space for Humanity . As a cherry on top, he’s also one of the very few who have descended into the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench—the deepest known place on Earth. 

As an extreme tourist himself, Taylor is a believer in democratizing the world’s most exclusive adventures. 

“I’m in the camp that says space is the next big thing for humanity, that it’s sort of the blank canvas that we have the ability to sort of reimagine what’s possible, treat each other better, have a better civilization, those kinds of concepts,” he said in an exclusive interview with . 

For Taylor, going to space was nothing short of life-changing.

“It is a very profound and transformative experience to see the earth from space, [and] it is very apparent when you’re up there that this is really a miracle that we have here on Earth,” he explained. “The rest of the universe is not like this. So far as we know, it’s cold and dark and hostile, and we have this sort of amazing, beautiful paradise here on Earth that sometimes I think we take for granted. It is very apparent when you’re up there how fragile the ecosystem is.”

Taylor paid a lot of money for this experience (he couldn’t share just how much, because he signed an NDA saying he wouldn’t), but he wants more people to be able to experience what he experienced, and this is something Space for Humanity is actively doing. He believes those who go to space come back with a new perspective on Planet Earth—and a renewed drive to protect it.

“There’s this notion that going to space has this transformative power—the overview effect, if you will—and that’s really a gift that should be shared widely,” Taylor said. “It shouldn’t be just professional astronauts or very wealthy people that benefit from that.” 

Space for Humanity’s Citizen Astronaut program fields thousands of applications each year from people who want to become citizen astronauts. They apply in part by outlining how their trip will empower them to be a force for good here on Earth. The program sponsors a new citizen astronaut each year, with the caveat that he or she will work on the projects or initiatives outlined in his or her application upon return.

While Space for Humanity is working to democratize space travel, for the most part, it’s still the realm of billionaires. Is space travel, then, becoming a prestigious feather in a very rich person’s cap?

“I think people have different motivations,” Taylor said. “Some, I think, are legitimately trying to check boxes and go down the list of all the different things you can do. Other people are just, like, in my case, just being super passionate about a lifelong dream.”

“But I think that desire to look [at] what’s over the hill and explore and do things that are unique and challenging, I think that’s sort of been embedded in humanity since the beginning of time.”

While humans’ desire to explore and push themselves to the limits is not new, the technology to take them to new heights—or depths—is relatively new, and, as OceanGate recently proved, technology can fail. Asked whether it’s reckless to take regular people to space, Taylor says no.

“I think it’s risky, and it’s really important that people who do those trips really understand the risks involved,” he explained. “But I don’t think it’s reckless.”

“I think it’s risky . . . but I don’t think it’s reckless.” Dylan Taylor

In the case of space, Taylor says regulations have kept it a tier or more above, say, OceanGate, but for-profit companies in this realm, in his view, should be investing profits back into making these extreme journeys safer and more accessible.

“Are there operators who are taking undue risk for monetary gain? I’ll leave that to others to decide, [but] in the case of space flight, it’s very tightly regulated, so it’s pretty difficult to do a money grab without crossing some boundaries that regulators would not allow you to,” he explained. 

“But I think a lot of these experiences are for-profit, [and] as long as those profits are reinvested back into perfecting the technology and making it more accessible, that’s probably a good thing. I think where it’s not a good thing is if people take undue risks for financial benefit and they don’t disclose what those risks are,” Taylor added. “I think that’s where it crosses the line in my view.”

Into the Abyss

Whether you book a ticket to space, participate in extreme sports like skydiving or big-wave surfing , hike in a national park, or drive to the grocery store down the street, safety is never guaranteed. However, when talking about the extremes of high-altitude climbs, being rocketed into space, and descending to the depths of the ocean, danger is more front and center in the conversation because a lot can go wrong, and, if it does, help may not be available. 

For the passengers of OceanGate’s Titan this past June, the chance to see the Titanic with their own eyes was worth the expense and the risk. If the demand is there, can we fault the companies that deliver the supply to meet the demand? Is an occasional disaster just part of human exploration?


Joe Dituri is a deep-sea diver who spent 28 years in the Navy, serving part of that time as a Navy Diving Saturation Officer. He also has a PhD in biomedical engineering and is known as “Dr. Deep Sea.” In June, Dr. Dituri surfaced after a 100-day jaunt living underwater. Dituri was his own test subject in Project NEPTUNE, in which he lived in the Jules’ Undersea Lodge, an underwater habitat in Key Largo, Florida, for 100 days straight, conducting daily experiments in human physiology.

Dituri is a huge proponent of pushing the envelope for human exploration. 

“My personal investment in this whole thing stems around the advancement of the human race,” he said in a video call with from his Undersea Oxygen Clinic in Tampa, Florida. “So, we are advancing humans, we’re going down the road to that next thing that we’re doing. Once we solve this, we cure that. Once we do this, what’s left? Exploration of our galaxy, exploration of other galaxies. Exploration of all the world, right, to find everything that there is to be found. It’s the whole Star Trek thing. It’s to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before.’ But what is this about? It really is about exploration. It’s the only thing that will be left in the end.”

Dituri has traveled nearly 2,000 feet deep in the ocean, but not as a tourist. It was part of his training as a deep-sea emergency rescue unit in the U.S. military. Even still, he says democratizing adventure and exploration is critical, and it’s only reckless if participants aren’t trained and prepared.

“It is important to push the boundaries; nay, it is required to push the boundaries. We go boldly. This is what we do. This is, as a society, what we need to do,” Dituri said. “But, we need to perform risk mitigation. [. . .] When I jump out of an airplane, I have two parachutes on my back. It’s not just one. I always have a backup, and I’m well trained in what could go wrong. So . . . that’s the overall goal. You mitigate the risk down to an acceptable level, with training and education, and that’s what we’re looking to do. That’s the only way to pursue and go forward and basically make meaningful contributions.”

“When I jump out of an airplane, I have two parachutes on my back. It’s not just one. I always have a backup, and I’m well trained in what could go wrong.” – Joe Dituri, Dr. Deep Sea

Therefore, Dituri does not see the democratization of deep-sea exploration as a money grab. 

“The quote from President Kennedy comes up,” he added. “ We choose to do these things. We choose to go to the moon and these other things in this century. Not because they’re easy, but because they’re hard .” 

“This is the whole spirit of exploration,” Dituri concludes. “We need to gain and gather that knowledge and information . . . so that we can give it to the rest of humanity.”

If viewed through a glass-half-full lens, then, every implosion and explosion equates to some massive lessons learned—it’s one small step for man, one giant leap for humankind , so to speak. Not all extreme adventures that end badly offer up some consolation prize of knowledge or experience, though. Some just rip away a person’s life. Whether that person signed a waiver, handed over a fat check, or simply lived for the thrill, it nonetheless begs the question: Is there such a thing as an adventure too extreme, or are today’s most extreme adventures the proving ground for the next era in human exploration?

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A Failed Trip to the Titanic Displays the Dangers of Extreme Tourism

Photo: A submarine. The Oceangate submersible Titan. The United States Coast Guard is searching for the 21-foot submersible Titan from the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince. The 5 person crew submerged Sunday morning, and the crew of the Polar Prince lost contact with them approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes into the vessel's dive.

OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owns the Titan, reportedly charges $250,000 per ticket and requires participants to sign a lengthy release form acknowledging the possible dangers involved. Photo via Alamy

Fascination with Titanic Underscores Dangers of Extreme Tourism

Bu’s school of hospitality administration dean on the tragedy of the submersible titan, what’s driving this industry, and what customers should look for when booking a risk-filled adventure, amy laskowski.

What was supposed to be an eight-hour trip to view the wreckage of the Titanic is now looking like a largely avoidable tragedy. The harrowing search for the Titan ended Thursday, as the US Coast Guard announced they found evidence that the submersible vessel had probably imploded and all five passengers were believed to be dead. The Coast Guard found pieces of the Titan on the ocean floor about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic .

The world was gripped by the search for the lost vessel, which took passengers 13,000 feet below the ocean’s surface to view the famed ocean liner that sank in 1912, approximately 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owns the Titan, appeals to the very wealthy. The company reportedly charges $250,000 per ticket and requires participants to sign a lengthy release form acknowledging the possible dangers involved. David Pogue, a CBS correspondent who took a trip on the vessel last year for a story, described the Titan as “improvised,” and the New York Times reported that in 2018, dozens of submersible experts, oceanographers, and deep-sea explorers wrote a letter to OceanGate’s CEO expressing concern about the vessel’s safety. According to CNN, “OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush has also repeatedly claimed that existing submersible regulations needlessly prioritize passenger safety over commercial innovation.”

Now, many experts are wondering whether increased scrutiny will be placed on the largely unregulated extreme tourism industry and the companies that offer expensive, status symbol trips. In addition to deep sea travel, those trips include race car driving on ice in Finland, exploring pyramids in war-torn Sudan, and flights to the International Space Station. 

BU Today spoke with Arun Upneja , dean of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, about the extreme tourism industry and what might change in the aftermath of the Titan disaster.

With Arun Upneja

Bu today: can you talk about the phenomenon of extreme tourism.

Upneja: Extreme tourism is anything that is high-risk, and it happens in often dangerous, remote locations. It provides a unique and thrilling experience for participants. It challenges your physical and mental limits. Some examples might be mountain climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting. There are so many different kinds of extreme tourism that people crave for various reasons.

BU Today: But extreme tourism seems to be getting more elaborate—it’s the ultra-wealthy taking trips to outer space with Virgin Galactic or trekking to see silverback gorillas in Rwanda. What’s behind the appeal? 

Upneja: With the rise of social media and people hearing about all of these extremes, people just want more and more thrill. And the wealthy are obviously able to pay. They want to be in the news and have bragging rights. There are so many reasons why people seek adventure. Once you’ve done something multiple times, you don’t get that thrill, that rush anymore. And so you seek more and more dangerous activities. 

BU Today: Has extreme travel become more accessible? Have outfitters tailored these trips and come up with bigger and better ideas, as they’ve seen the demand for it?

Upneja: In a way, yes. Let’s take skydiving, for example. Years ago, you didn’t have as much equipment, and it wasn’t something most people could afford. But now more people can afford it. And don’t forget that if you look at the statistics, you’ll find it’s much safer than going out in a car. The risk of an equipment malfunction is actually very minuscule. 

BU Today: Do outfitters do a good enough job of making their clients aware of the risks when they go on these trips? 

Upneja: The better organizers and outfits will give you a complete rundown of the risks. I read a report somewhere that they mentioned the word “death” three times on the first page with this Titanic trip. Good outfits will make you conscious of all the risks and will take steps to avoid those risks. There are so many regulations. Many countries have regulations that cover licensing, safety equipment, operator qualifications, and so forth. There are also government bodies, tourism bodies, and industry associations. If you are going to a local place that does bungee jumping, most likely they are doing hundreds of bungee jumps a day. Most likely they are licensed by the local authorities, the equipment is inspected, and they have trained operators.  But this [OceanGate trip] was just very unique. There aren’t too many trips like this. And [it seems like] the operators were warned and were not very conscious of all the risks and taking steps to avoid them. 

BU Today: Do you think travel outfitters will face more scrutiny after this disaster?

Upneja: After every major news story like this, there is a lot of initial interest, but that interest very soon dies down. I really doubt there will be a new scrutiny on these adventure-based trips from this one event alone. I think for people who are spending money on these one-off trips, this event will hopefully prompt some of them to reevaluate.  Every time somebody comes up with a new, risky way to potentially almost kill yourself, and an event happens, the local governments suddenly wake up and say, ‘Okay, how did you do this here? And is there anything in the regulations that could have prevented you?’ But this was also happening in the open ocean, where no governing body exists. [It’s up to the country] where these people belong, or where the boats that carried the submarine are based. Hopefully, these countries now say, “Okay, if you’re engaging in anything risky, then you need to be fully licensed to do that.” 

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Photo of Amy Laskowski. A white woman with long brown hair pulled into a half up, half down style and wearing a burgundy top, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

Amy Laskowski is a senior writer at Boston University. She is always hunting for interesting, quirky stories around BU and helps manage and edit the work of BU Today ’s interns. She did her undergrad at Syracuse University and earned a master’s in journalism at the College of Communication in 2015. Profile

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There is 1 comment on A Failed Trip to the Titanic Displays the Dangers of Extreme Tourism

when the regulations change the cost of a trip will increase. that’s one thing about the titan, it was built to be cost effective not necessarily safe. submersible tourism industry now has to deal with skepticism about safety even though the titan has very little in common with the tyical submersible in the caribbean and australia which travels only hundreds of feet underwater and is already heavily regulated.

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The Deadly Delight of Extreme Tourism: Balancing Thrills, Risks, and Responsibility

In the pursuit of adventure and thrill, how far are we willing to go, even at the cost of our life?

On 18th June 2023, tragedy struck when the Titan submersible imploded, leading to the death of five people on board an expedition to witness the remains of the Titanic shipwreck. Despite the risks and dangers involved, extreme tourism is gaining popularity day by day.

Extreme tourism, also known as shock tourism, is a form of travel that is characterised by adventure and even physical danger. Extreme tourists visit places considered extremely unsafe due to physical or political reasons. It is a small but growing part of adventure tourism that became popular during the Covid lockdown. Whether it's visiting the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, travelling to space like Jeff Bezos, or trekking on an active volcano, extreme tourism offers an adrenaline rush caused by the element of risk.

Extreme tourism comes at an exorbitant price and is sought-after by the wealthy. Passengers on the Titanic wreckage expedition paid a whopping $250,000 per person. In a world plagued by poverty, war, and destruction, it is disheartening to see the wealthy squandering enormous amounts of money on extreme tourism, even though it puts their lives on the line. Before embarking on their journey, the passengers had to sign a waiver that prominently mentioned the word "death" thrice on the first page. Ironically, these life-threatening risks seem to attract customers rather than dissuade them.

In conclusion, this deadly form of tourism should prioritise safety and ensure zero risk of fatalities. Extreme tourism that poses a possibility of injury or death should be banned for the sake of humanity.

Richard Garriott, president of the Explorers Club, rightly said, "While we should all appreciate efforts to innovate and push the boundaries of exploration, this must be done safely and sensibly.”

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Lost with the Titanic: Will submarine passengers' remains ever be found?

Corrections & clarifications: This story has been updated to clarify how many people died on the Titanic .

The shock of losing loved ones suddenly is one of the most troubling of tragedies. But add to that the mystery of where their bodies might lie at the bottom of the ocean.

For the families of the explorers who died in the Titan sub implosion, those are feelings likely to haunt them forever, as they have for generations of other families who lost relatives under similar circumstances: the sinking of the Titanic itself over a century ago.

No bodies have ever been found from the wreckage of the Titanic at a depth of 12,500 feet, where over 1,100 passengers are likely to have dissolved after years of salt-water erosion and undersea life foraging the site.

A similar scenario is likely for the Titan submersible. And then, there are the harsh realities of the violent implosion itself.

"It's not so much about deep sea as much as it is about the implosion. The force was compressing so rapidly that those bodies and souls had nowhere to go," said Aileen Maria Marty, an expert in infectious disease and disaster medicine at Florida International University's Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

Marty said that because of the way the sub imploded and likely crushed the bodies inside, "it’s very, very unlikely you’ll find any distinguishable body parts."

The conditions of the deep sea are so unknown and challenging and the implosion so catastrophic that the families of the five people who died could be long left with questions about what exactly happened to them.

On the ocean floor where the search crews found parts of The Titan 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on Thursday, there is immense pressure, absolute darkness and extremely cold temperatures.

The Coast Guard said Thursday they did not know if they would be able to recover the five bodies.

The five passengers who were in the Titan submersible when it imploded on the mission were OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush, British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, French maritime and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet, one of the richest men in Pakistan Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood. 

They each paid $250,000 to take the voyage, which was promoted as an “extraordinary” expedition for travelers to become one of the few to “see the Titanic with your own eyes,” according to OceanGate’s archived itinerary of the mission. It was OceanGate’s third annual expedition to the Titanic , which struck an iceberg and sank in 1912, killing all but about 700 of the roughly 2,200 passengers and crew.

'True explorers' The 5 passengers who died on the missing Titanic submersible

US Coast Guard: Bodies lost in ‘catastrophic implosion’

The vessel was lost in a “catastrophic implosion,” the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.

“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment,” said Rear Admiral John Mauger of the U.S. Coast Guard.

It is likely that the bodies of the men were impacted with immediate trauma from the sudden pressure change in the implosion. And the extreme conditions of the deep ocean further complicates the search for them.

Marty said the implosion had to have happened at a tremendous speed.

"For something that size whole thing, the whole thing is going to crush in about 1 millisecond. So when it actually happened, their brains didn’t have time to know it was happening," said Marty.

In the case of the Titanic, more than 1,500 people were lost in the North Atlantic. Over 100 of the bodies were buried at sea due to their severe damage or decomposition, and crews at the time were only able to recover over 200 bodies.

Relatives of the Titanic passengers hoped for answers for decades. They never came.

The Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time of its building in England, and was heralded as an "unsinkable" ship with little need for lifeboats. That hubris ended when the luxury liner sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton , England, to New York City.

It took too long for a rescue ship to reach the sinking hulk and by the time it arrived, around 340 people were found floating dead in the freezing water, many wearing life jackets. But 1,160 bodies sank along with the ship and were never seen again.

Among them were some notable dignitaries of the time: U.S. businessman Benjamin Guggenheim, Titanic architect Thomas Andrews, and the ship's captain, Edward Smith. And many others.

James Delgado, a maritime archaeologist and historian who has dived to the wreck himself, told the DailyMail earlier this year that there could be "some semblance of human remains" still inside what's left of the Titanic.

"Scientists think that could be a possibility, but this is a science we don't know much about, particularly in the deep ocean," Delgado told MailOnline. 

Bone degrades quickly in salt water. Delgado said that "even teeth dissolve" after sustained periods on the ocean floor, which is mostly populated by microbial life such as bacteria.

What are deep sea conditions like? 

The deep ocean is one of the world’s most unforgiving environments with much of it still a mystery.

The deep sea “accounts for over 95 percent of Earth’s living space” and remains largely unexplored, according to the Smithsonian Ocean Portal. And only about 23% of the seafloor has been mapped, according to 2022 figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 

Human engineering and exploration of the deep ocean are limited by harsh conditions, such as increased water pressure, darkness and extremely cold temperatures — placing any deep sea mission at high risk.

“Light is virtually absent in the deep ocean,” according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Habitats found in the deep sea are vastly different from other Earth environments and life below the surface have uniquely evolved to survive unforgiving conditions.

The Smithsonian Ocean Portal said by 13,000 feet, the average temperature “hovers just below the temperature of your refrigerator” and the weight of the water “continues to accumulate to a massive crushing force.” Most organisms with gas-filled spaces, or lungs, would be crushed by the pressure.

More: All five passengers on missing Titanic submersible dead after catastrophic implosion

How risky is deep sea tourism?

Extreme adventure tourism has made global headlines over recent years, marketing potentially dangerous adventures to paying customers.

The loss of the Titan this week shed light on a relatively new frontier for tourism: deep ocean exploration. The vessel was exploring the wreckage of the Titanic, about 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and about 12,500 feet underwater. 

Operated by OceanGate, a private company based in Washington state, Rush sought to develop vessels that would break the boundaries of current submersibles and to discover the ocean’s unknown.

“One of the reasons I started the business was because I didn’t understand why we were spending 1,000 times as much money to explore space as we were to explore ... the oceans,” Rush told a conference held by GeekWire, a Seattle tech news website, last year. “There is no private access to the deep ocean, and yet there’s all this life to be discovered.”

Rush’s goals have been criticized by experts and explorers in light of the Titan's implosion.

Jon Council, a submersible expert and president of the Historical Diving Society, told NPR that while submersible tourism has been around for decades, OceanGate is the only company to have attempted to take customers down to depths as deep as the Titanic wreck.

And safety concerns were raised by former OceanGate employees. David Lochridge, OceanGate’s former director of marine operations, wrote in a 2018 lawsuit that it could subject passengers to “potential extreme danger.”

Marty also critiqued OceanGate for inviting passengers on the submersible given its safety concerns.

"There are perfectly good submersibles where it’s perfectly safe to go in them," she said. "But this was an experimental ship that was not certified and not ready to be taking tourists in."

Why did the men go on the voyage in the first place?

Each of the men came from different backgrounds and ultimately sought out exploration with the journey.

  • Rush, 61, founded the OceanGate company that led the voyage to the wreckage of the Titanic. He was also the co-founder of OceanGate Foundation, a non-profit organization "which aims to catalyze emerging marine technology to further discoveries in marine science, history, and archaeology," according to the company's website. Rush said last year he turned to the deep ocean instead of space as his path to exploration. 
  • Harding was a British billionaire explorer and the chairman of Action Aviation, a global sales company in business aviation. He held three Guinness World Records related to his explorations by plane and into the deep ocean and he had also been to space. Prior to the journey, he wrote in a Facebook post: “Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023."
  • Nargeolet was a French maritime and renowned Titanic expert, “having led six expeditions to the Titanic wreck site and lectured at numerous Titanic exhibitions around the world. He’s known as “Titanic’s Greatest Explorer,” according to OceanGate Expeditions. The trip was one of several dives he took to the Titanic.
  • Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood “shared a passion for adventure and exploration,” the Dawood family said in a statement. The older sister of Shahzada told NBC News that he was a lifelong Titanic obsessive and that Suleman agreed to go on the expedition because it was important to his father.

Contributing: The Associated Press

It’s been a record-setting year for global travel – here’s how we make tourism inclusive and sustainable

A colourful market in Columbia selling bags, clothes and crafts: Inclusive and sustainable travel and tourism includes supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses.

Inclusive and sustainable travel and tourism includes supporting micro-, small- and medium-sized businesses. Image:  Unsplash/Michael Barón

.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo{-webkit-transition:all 0.15s ease-out;transition:all 0.15s ease-out;cursor:pointer;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;outline:none;color:inherit;}.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo:hover,.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo[data-hover]{-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo:focus,.chakra .wef-1c7l3mo[data-focus]{box-shadow:0 0 0 3px rgba(168,203,251,0.5);} Nicola Villa

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.chakra .wef-1nk5u5d{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;color:#2846F8;font-size:1.25rem;}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-1nk5u5d{font-size:1.125rem;}} Get involved .chakra .wef-9dduvl{margin-top:16px;margin-bottom:16px;line-height:1.388;font-size:1.25rem;}@media screen and (min-width:56.5rem){.chakra .wef-9dduvl{font-size:1.125rem;}} with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale

  • The global travel sector is experiencing a robust recovery, with tourists increasingly spending more on travel.
  • Despite the overall positive outlook, some destinations struggle with operational challenges, including workforce issues and resource management amid rising tourist numbers and environmental concerns.
  • The travel and tourism sector’s potential for advancing socio-economic prosperity is particularly impactful through the support of micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.

The global travel sector forecast is in and it's sunny skies ahead. Through March 2024, consumer spending on travel remains strong, and passenger traffic has soared. Empowered by a strong labour market worldwide, tourists will be on the roads, air and seas once again, with more of people’s budgets on travel.

The latest report from the Mastercard Economics Institute, Travel Trends 2024: Breaking Boundaries , reveals that 2024 has already witnessed multiple record-setting days as consumer spending on leisure travel remains strong. The data shows that post-pandemic travellers continue to seek unique experiences rooted in local cultures while increasingly prioritizing spending on memorable events across sports, music and festivals.

The Mastercard Economics Institute’s analysis reveals that travellers also seek opportunities to extend their stays, prioritizing leisure for longer. For the first 12 months between March 2019 and February 2020, a trip’s average length of stay was about four days. As of March 2024, the average length of a leisure trip has edged closer to five days, which translates into an economic boost for the destinations and communities hosting them.

Have you read?

These are the top 10 countries for travel and tourism, what is travel and tourism’s role in future global prosperity, travel & tourism development index 2024, tackling tourism’s challenges.

Yet, while the overall outlook for travellers looks bright, that’s not the case for all destinations. Some tourism hotspots and lesser-known locales are facing growing challenges around operating conditions. The World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2024 highlights the ongoing constraints facing the global travel and tourism sector – including the lack of investment in skilled and resilient workforces and issues around resource management – cultural and natural – as destinations grapple with higher tourist visitor numbers and rising environmental concerns.

The report offers travel and tourism decision-makers recommendations around how the sector can take a more active role in tackling social challenges across socio-economic prosperity, peace and cultural exchange. As the industry accounts for approximately one-tenth of global gross domestic product and employment , the public and private sectors must work together to ensure future tourism development is, first and foremost, inclusive and sustainable.

Supporting the backbone of travel and tourism

As the TTDI 2024 notes, one area where the sector’s potential in advancing socio-economic prosperity can be particularly impactful is in the economic empowerment of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, more than 80% of travel and tourism businesses fall under this category.

Policies and investments promoting the adoption of digital solutions and enhancing digital skills development while improving access to credit can provide a major boost to tourism-focused MSMEs.

In Costa Rica, the Instituto Costariccense de Turismo, a member of Mastercard’s Tourism Innovation Hub , is championing such an approach to ensure increased tourist traffic results in better opportunities for MSMEs. Last year, the institute launched Tico Treasures , a platform facilitating tourist connections with Costa Rica’s Crafts with Identity programme, a group of 17 artisan collectives across the country. The platform allows visitors to discover local Costa Rican products, learn about artisan communities and then purchase and ship the goods back to their home country – all through one experience.

The programme is an example of public-private collaboration, including backing from Correos de Costa Rica, Banco de Costa Rica and the Instituto Costariccense de Turismo. Its objectives are multifold: delivering more authentic experiences for tourists, expanding citizens’ access to the digital economy and contributing to MSME resilience.

Protecting future environments

There are also novel approaches to solving destinations’ sustainability challenges underway. A key role of the Travel Foundation , a global non-government organization, is to facilitate innovative public-private collaborations in tourism that accelerate and scale sustainable solutions. One notable example is in Scotland, where the national tourism organization VisitScotland is partnering with the Travel Corporation, a global tour operator, to help decarbonize the destination supply chain. Both organizations are pooling their insights, data and expertise to support local businesses, develop new ideas for reducing carbon footprints and identify barriers to a green transition.

The learnings from this and other projects led by the Travel Foundation will be shared to influence future policy, investment and product development decisions at national and global levels. By combining public sector resources and capabilities with private sector technological expertise, travel and tourism decision-makers can enact policies and programmes that balance tourism growth with environmental protection, providing a nuanced approach that works for unique destinations.

It’s an important time for the sector – to leverage travel and tourism’s robust recovery and advance socio-economic prosperity, fuelling a more inclusive future for our treasured destinations. By accelerating collaboration between governments, destination management organizations and technology companies, we can ensure destinations, the communities that power them and the environments they inhabit are at the heart of all future tourism development.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

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Why a rise in 'tourism-phobia' should give Australians flocking to European summer a cause for pause

People sunbathe under a row of umbrellas at a beach on Greece.

It's that time of year again when social media feeds become flooded with "Euro summer" holiday content.

Every winter, there's a cohort of Australians who escape to the Mediterranean Sea, seeking an idyllic scene to sip Aperol spritz in the sun.

But, they may not all be getting a warm welcome. 

Since pandemic travel restrictions eased, tourism has come surging back and Europe is copping an influx of visitors in record numbers.

And some locals aren't happy about it. 

Graffitti on a wall in Athens saying "Tourists Go Home, Greek State Kills".

Graffiti and stickers exclaiming, "Tourists go home!" and threats such as "We'll spit in your beer" are becoming a common sight across major cities. 

Anti-tourism protests are also spreading, with locals angered by "bad tourists", short-term rentals and "the touristification of daily life".

Experts say at this rate there's no way tourism can be sustainable, and we need to re-think the way we travel so we're not part of the problem. 

A return to overseas travel

Australians are back on the move.

In 2023, nearly 10 million residents returned from a short-term trip overseas , an increase of over 4.7 million on the previous year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

June was a particularly high time to travel, with more Australians leaving the country in mid-last year than in December 2022. 

A young boy and a man pose for a photo near the Eiffel Tower

Skyscanner Australia travel expert, Jarrod Kris, says there has been an increase in Australians searching for flights to European destinations.

Search volumes for European countries in 2023 were up by 28 per cent on the previous year, with Greece, France, Italy and Spain among the most popular.

Searches were also 16 per cent higher than pre-pandemic 2019, Mr Kris said. 

Based on Skyscanner flight booking data, the most popular 2024 Euro summers destinations for Australians so far are: 

  • 2. Manchester
  • 4. Istanbul

Landing in an overtourism crisis

Many of these popular destinations are facing an "overtourism crisis", Claudio Milano from the University of Barcelona's department of social anthropology, said. 

And it's leading to a resurgence of "tourism-phobia".

The term emerged around the 2008 financial crisis with locals blaming tourists for their deteriorating quality of life.

Now as crowds have come flooding back in record numbers after the pandemic reprieve, so too has social unrest and tourism rejection.

Especially as cities confront housing emergencies, masses of Airbnb lockboxes strewn down residential streets are a scathing sign of the times. 

A woman walks past graffiti on the wall in Spain that says "Guiri go home" which translates to "tourist go home".

Already Europe's foreign tourist arrivals for 2024 have exceeded 2019 levels.

And summer is bringing two major sporting events to the continent — the Paris Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

Tourism officials expect 15.3 million visitors to the French capital over the Olympics period. 

Parisians have been staging protests and strikes, calling out the social impact the Games will have on their city, which is already the most-visited destination in the world.

A protester in Paris holds a sign in French that reads: "Lack of Housing Seriously Harms Health".

Locals lash out   

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of residents have also been taking to the streets in Athens, Venice, Barcelona and Spain's Balearic Islands.

Last weekend, protesters occupied beaches frequented by tourists in Mallorca, after about 10,000 demonstrated the previous week under the banner #Mallorca no es ven — Mallorca is not for sale. 

Smaller protests have been held in neighbouring Menorca and the notorious party island Ibiza.

And throughout April, more than 50,000 people from the small Spanish Canary Islands took part in demonstrations.

Freya Higgins-Desbiolles, a lecturer in tourism management at the University of South Australia, says it's clear impacts of overtourism have reached new heights.   

"The recent activism in the Canary Islands, where tens of thousands of people came out in a relatively small community, indicates just how angry people are," she told the ABC.

People hold a banner that reads "Mallorca is not for sale", as they take part in a protest against mass tourism.

Fake signs have been spotted at Spanish beaches warning tourists that there's dangerous jellyfish and falling rocks.

Then small-print in Catalan reads "the problem isn’t a rockfall, it's mass tourism", according to local media reports. 

There's also been more confronting backlash with reports of rentals cars, bikes and tourist buses being vandalised or their tires slashed.

Tourists making life unlivable

Professor Milano says similar messages are being echoed by anti-tourism activists and movements across the board.

Locals are frustrated by cities being oversold and overcrowded with "capitalistic tourism".

Short-term rentals are raising housing costs, taking over residential buildings, and pricing locals out of living in their own towns.

Javier Carbonell, a real estate agent in Mallorca, told Reuters over half of rental properties were used for holiday rentals and were not affordable for locals.

"We want less mass tourism and more sustainable tourism," Mr Carbonell said.

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said cities and towns have become completely over-run by tourists, making them unlivable and unrecognisable to those who call them home.

Tourists are seen at St Mark's Square in Venice, Italy.

"There's no problem having tourists in the city, the problem is to have only tourists in the city," Professor Milano said. 

He called it the "touristification of daily life".

In places such as Venice, Italy, locals have been displaced due to poorly managed tourism, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said.

Some shops that sustained local life have been replaced with tacky souvenir shops.

"Because of tourism developments and the way tourism has run, it's made it difficult to lead normal lives," she said.

"Whether you can travel to Venice, and have that accepted, requires thought on the part of the traveller."

A stencilled graffiti on a stone wall saying "Tourist go Home".

Should you still travel?

Professor Milano says for the most part activists are not angered by the tourist encounter, rather the tourism model and the issues it provokes. 

They don't want no tourism at all, but he admitted they do want better tourists. 

And there are ways to minimise negative effects so your travels benefit local businesses. 

Avoid Airbnb 

In Athens, graffiti is sprayed across walls showing buildings up in flames alongside the words "burn Airbnb", according to local media.

And protesters in the city have been waving signs reading "Barcelona: Tourists welcome, locals NOT welcome", and chanting "tourists are taking our houses".

Professor Milano said travellers should avoid booking Airbnb and instead find a hotel.

And tourists should try to spend money on local businesses as much as they can. 

A lot of frustration stems from outside entities profiting while locals suffer, Professor Higgins-Desbiolles said. 

"The most simple advice that I could give to make sure you're welcome — no matter where you go — is to knowledgeably and intentionally spend money in that local economy." 

Beware of 'live like a local' myths 

Travellers are being warned about falling for commercial narratives that promote getting a local's experience. 

"With Airbnb, we have brought tourism into our buildings," Professor Milano said. 

"Airbnb used to be promoted as 'live like a local' ... But it’s not 'live like a local' because the property manager is a big company that probably owns 200 apartments in Barcelona."

In some cities, residential areas are becoming so congested locals can't easily access their own streets or get on a bus. 

The advice is to stay away from the crowded areas and avoid travelling at peak seasons.

Tourists read a travel guide of Rome as they sit near Colosseum crowds in Rome.

Scrap the multi-stop trips

What has been called the "Ryanair revolution" has enabled travellers to jet between European destinations for next to nothing.

This hyper mobility is a big part of the problem, Professor Milano said.

Regularly flying to Europe for two weeks and visiting several destinations isn't uncommon for some Australians. 

But Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says we need to consider slowing down — not just for the wellbeing of the local communities, but for the environment.

"Access to these places is not our right, it’s a privilege," she said.

"We need to get more considered in our consumption."

She said we don't need to stop holidaying, but it would be better to scale it back to one big holiday every few years, and staying in the one country.

'Don't be a jerk'

Protesters in the Canary Islands have been calling out "bad tourists" who disrespect the land and culture.

While campaigns in Amsterdam have been targeting badly-behaved tourists with the slogan "stay away" if your plan is to come for a messy night "getting trashed".

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says if you want to be accepted in cities, simply "don’t be a jerk".

"You're a visitor in somebody's home, and that's the thing about these destinations that we forget — these are local people's homes," she said.

"Visitors think they have a right to go to places, that their money buys them access, and that they don't need to be thoughtful and sensitive."

This also applies to "commodifying travels", and the lengths people will take to get the perfect social media shot. 

Listen to communities 

Policies and measures are being rolled out in many places to address overcrowding, such as introducing tourist taxes, entry fees, and capping visitor numbers at peak times. 

Professor Higgins-Desbiolles says it's also important to listen to what communities want, because locals are saying this isn't enough.

"We should stop emphasising continual economic growth to instead look at wellbeing," she said. 

Countries outside Europe have been developing responsible tourist pledges for visitors to sign when they arrive.

The Pacific Island nation of Palau has taken this a step further, opening up local opportunities for tourists who abide by the pledge and show respect.

"That's what gets you a warm welcome into these places," Dr Higgins-Desbiolles said.

"We really should centre tourism on local community rights. That would make the difference."

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France bans extreme-right and radical Islamic groups ahead of polarizing elections

From the left, French far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) party President Jordan Bardella, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and far-left party La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) member Manuel Bompard pose prior to a debate broadcasted on French TV channel TF1, in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside Paris, Tuesday, June 25, 2024.

PARIS (AP) — France’s government on Wednesday ordered the dissolution of extreme right and radical Muslim groups, four days before the first round of high-stakes legislative elections that may see a surge in support for political extremes.

Snap national elections called by pro-business moderate President Emmanuel Macron have plunged the country into a hasty and disorderly electoral race. Immigration, France’s retirement age and taxes emerged as top points of contention as the prime minister and two potential challengers for his job held a televised debate Tuesday night.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced Wednesday that the government ordered the dissolution of multiple extreme-right and “radical Islamist'' groups. A series of decrees announcing the shutdown cited the risk of violence.

The groups affected include the GUD, a group known for violence and antisemitism whose members have provided support for far-right political leader Marine Le Pen in the past.


Le Pen's National Rally party is leading all polls ahead of the two-round elections June 30 and July 7, and Macron's centrist alliance is lagging badly. However, the outcome remains highly uncertain due to the complex, two-stage voting system and potential political alliances.

In the TV debate, young and fast-rising National Rally president Jordan Bardella renewed his proposal to abolish free health care for foreigners and toughen regulations around the acquisition of French nationality.

But his proposal to prevent dual citizens from accessing certain “strategic” state jobs in particular attracted the ire of Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who said it revealed the true objectives of a party that has long been tied to xenophobia and racism.

“The message you are sending is that when we are dual citizens, we are half-citizens, we are not real French people,” Attal said.

Attal suggested the real targets of this measure are not dual citizens with high-level positions, when he said Bardella had a Franco-Russian representative in the European Parliament, who sits at the Committee on Foreign Affairs on security and defense issues.

Bardella has softened many of the party's hard-line positions, and was put on the spot during the debate over another key issue, the age of retirement, which Macron's highly contested reform last year raised from 62 to 64, prompting months of protests and weakening his government.

The National Rally backs the idea of setting back the retirement age to 62, but Bardella said 42 years of work would be needed for entitlement to a full pension, de facto raising the retirement age for those who started working later in their 20s.

This is the first time since the Nazi occupation during World War II that France could elect a far-right government. Opposition parties on both sides of the political spectrum have been scrambling to form alliances and field candidates.

The elections were called by Macron earlier this month after his party suffered a crushing defeat by the far right in the European Parliament election.

Eric Bompard, of the France Unbowed party, part of a new coalition of far-to-center left parties, also came after Bardella’s economic program and his proposal to lift taxes for people under 30 years of age.

Citing economists, Bompard said the National Rally’s program would contribute to making the rich richer, at the expense of the poorest 30% share of the population, while Attal accused the 28-year-old Bardella of personally benefiting from the measure.

“Why would a 31-year-old laborer pay taxes, while a 29-year-old consultant or trader would stop paying?” Attal asked.

Follow the AP’s coverage of global elections at:


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Well Beyond the U.S., Heat and Climate Extremes Are Hitting Billions

People all over the world are facing severe heat, floods and fire, aggravated by the use of fossil fuels. The year isn’t halfway done.

  • Share full article

Four people wearing yellow hard hats carry a person on a stretcher.

By Somini Sengupta

Somini Sengupta has covered the human toll of extreme heat from nearly every continent.

Poll workers. Pilgrims. Tourists on a hike.

All have died in blistering heat in recent weeks around the world, a harrowing reminder of the global dangers of extreme weather as a heat wave bears down on nearly 100 million Americans this week.

Dozens of cities in Mexico broke heat records in May and June, killing more than 100 people. India has been under an extraordinarily long heat wave that killed several election workers, and this week, in the capital, Delhi, even overnight temperatures remained in the mid-90s Fahrenheit, or in the mid-30s Celsius. Greece is bracing for wildfires this week, right after back-to-back heat waves killed several tourists. In Bamako, the capital of Mali, hospitals reported more than 100 excess deaths on the first four days of April, The Associated Press reported.

Between May 2023 and May 2024, an estimated 6.3 billion people , or roughly 4 out of 5 people in the world, lived through at least a month of what in their areas were considered abnormally high temperatures, according to a recent analysis by Climate Central, a scientific nonprofit.

The damage to human health, agriculture and the global economy is just beginning to be understood.

Extreme heat killed an estimated 489,000 people annually between 2000 and 2019, according to the World Meteorological Organization, making heat the deadliest of all extreme weather events. Swiss RE, the insurance-industry giant, said in a report this week that the accumulating hazards of climate change could further drive the growing market for insurance against strikes and riots. “Climate change may also drive food and water shortages and in turn civil unrest, and mass migration,” the report said.

As for the world’s two rival economic powers, China and the United States, both face a common peril this summer. As one-fifth of all Americans were under an extreme-heat alert this week, several areas in China’s north broke maximum temperature records. And earlier in the week the capital, Beijing, was under a heat alert as temperatures reached 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius).

The two countries are also the two biggest producers of greenhouse gases warming the planet. China’s current emissions are by far the highest in the world, and the United States’ cumulative emissions over the past 150 years of industrialization are the highest in the world.

Emissions like these, produced by the burning of fossil fuels, are what drive these bouts of abnormally high temperatures, scientists have repeatedly found. “Unsurprisingly, heat waves are getting deadlier,” said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College in London, in a statement on Thursday.

Global temperatures in the first five months of the year have been the highest since modern record-keeping began. That puts 2024 on course to be the hottest year in recorded history, eclipsing last year’s record.

Saudi Arabia, a petrostate that has opposed diplomatic efforts to phase out fossil-fuel use, experienced a harrowing event this week. Agence France-Presse reported Thursday that 1,000 people had died while on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city in Saudi Arabia. In central Algeria, another oil-rich state, riots erupted over water in mid-June as rising temperatures and a lack of rain dried up drinking-water supplies.

Doctors around the world have increasingly pointed to heat’s often underappreciated effect on health.

Many hospital systems have no adequate way to count heat illnesses or deaths because heat can aggravate a host of other conditions , like kidney disease or asthma, which means that deaths due to heat sometimes end up attributed to other causes and show up as a pattern of excess deaths .

“A transition away from fossil fuels is the best way to prevent deaths and illness from heat in the future — everything else is just a Band-Aid on a bullet wound,” said Renee Salas, an emergency-room doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital and the lead author of a special issue of The Lancet, the medical journal, on climate change and health.

Heat isn’t the only extreme weather hazard affecting the world.

High temperatures dried out soils in China’s northern agricultural provinces, prompting emergency-response measures against an expanding drought, including cloud-seeding operations to cause rain. Meanwhile, heavy rains inundated the country’s south, with landslides blocking roads and power outages affecting 100,000 households.

In the United States, New Mexico’s weather went from fires to floods in the course of a week. Roughly 23,000 acres have burned in southern New Mexico since two fast-moving wildfires were detected Monday. At least two people have died. Then, on Wednesday came torrential rains and floods rushing down burn-scarred hillsides.

Last week, three days of tropical rains in Florida wreaked havoc on airports and highways.

On Thursday, the Atlantic hurricane season’s first named storm, Alberto, barreled into the northeastern coast of Mexico. Amid the lashing wind and rain, three children were killed, local officials said. One drowned trying to rescue a ball in a fast-moving river. Two others were electrocuted when a cable made contact with a pond.

The hurricane season is projected to be unusually strong this year , according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, because the ocean is extraordinarily hot. That, too, is in part because of the burning of fossil fuels.

John Liu contributed reporting.

Somini Sengupta is the international climate reporter on the Times climate team. More about Somini Sengupta

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Britain’s highest court has ruled that local councils and planning groups must consider the full environmental impact of new fossil fuel projects  when deciding whether to approve them.

The government of Hawaii settled a lawsuit with a group of young people  who had sued the state’s Department of Transportation over its use of fossil fuels.

Ideas to Beat the Heat:  As temperatures soar around the world, an array of practical innovations  are emerging to protect people most vulnerable to the hazards of heat.

A Red State Weatherman:  Chris Gloninger said he was hired by a Des Moines television station to talk about global warming in his forecasts. That’s when things heated up .

A Surprise After a Disaster:  A study found that monkeys in Puerto Rico, reeling from a hurricane, learned by necessity to get along. It’s one of the first studies to suggest that animals can adapt to environmental upheaval with social changes .

F.A.Q.:  Have questions about climate change? We’ve got answers .


  1. The World's Most Extreme Travel Destinations

    extreme tourism article

  2. The Most Extreme Travel Adventures in the World

    extreme tourism article

  3. What is extreme tourism?

    extreme tourism article

  4. Yenokavan & Lastiver: Ecotourism & Extreme tourism

    extreme tourism article

  5. The Wild World of Extreme Tourism for Billionaires

    extreme tourism article

  6. A Complete Guide to Extreme Tourism by Dr Prem

    extreme tourism article


  1. Why Extreme Tourism is Booming Despite the Dangers

    In 2021, the global adventure tourism market was valued at $282.1 billion, according to a report by Grand View Research. It's now projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 15.2 ...

  2. Extreme tourism: 'If it was safe, that's not an adventure'

    Yet one of the odd things about extreme tourism is that risk seems to attract rather than deter customers. Just two days after a volcano erupted on White Island off New Zealand in 2019, killing 22 ...

  3. Why is extreme 'frontier travel' booming despite the risks?

    Frontier tourism is an exclusive and extreme form of adventure travel. The trips are very expensive, aim to overstimulate the senses and go to the outer limits of our planet - the deep oceans ...

  4. Extreme travel: It just got harder to see every place in the world

    Extreme travel isn't for the faint-hearted. Kari-Matti Valtari would know. He has been arrested many times and held in detention in war-torn nations, but has seen everywhere from St Eustatius to ...

  5. The rise of extreme tourism

    The rise of extreme tourism. Adventurers around the world are shelling out big bucks to travel to remote — and often dangerous — parts of the Earth. The big picture: Several factors, including new technologies and post-pandemic demand, are driving a surge in extreme tourism. The world's wealthiest thrill-seekers are pushing tourism to its ...

  6. The Wild World of Extreme Tourism for Billionaires

    With these extreme tourism companies, safety generally comes with a high price tag. Madison says his service offers networks of expert guides and logistical know-how, as well as Western and Sherpa ...

  7. Danger, prestige and authenticity draw thrill-seekers to adventure tourism

    Technology can often make the extreme environments of adventure tourism more safe, but at the bottom of the ocean, the vacuum of space or the cold of a mountain summit the consequences of failure ...

  8. From Titanic tours to space exploration: extreme tourism is ...

    The $250,000-a-head expedition that vanished this week en route to the deep-sea wreck of the Titanic ocean liner is just one example of extreme tourism that is becoming more commonplace for those ...

  9. The Titanic Sub and the Draw of Extreme Tourism

    June 20, 2023. The submersible craft's journey to the bottom of the ocean and back was supposed to take about eight hours. Two and a half hours for the descent, a few hours to explore the ...

  10. Extreme tourism

    Extreme tourism, also often referred to as danger tourism or shock tourism (although these concepts do not appear strictly similar) is a niche in the tourism industry involving travel to dangerous places ( mountains, jungles, deserts, caves, canyons, etc.) or participation in dangerous events. Extreme tourism overlaps with extreme sport.

  11. Inside the World's Rarest Experiences: Why the Rich Love Extreme Tourism

    Grand View Research reports that the extreme tourism industry was worth $322 billion in 2022 but is on pace to top $1 trillion in 2030. Much of the enthusiasm comes from COVID itself. Like ...

  12. From Titanic Tours to Scaling Everest, Extreme Tourism Is a Big

    Extreme adventures send travelers to the ends of the earth, the bottom of the sea and even to space. Despite the risks and costs that can regularly total over $100,000, the business is booming ...

  13. The 'extreme tourism' industry is costly and there are risks

    Get 6 Months of Unlimited Access for $1. The Titan submersible imploded on a dive to the Titanic last week. Uncredited/Associated Press. Extreme tourism "attracts a lot of very focused, affluent ...

  14. Should some of the world's endangered places be off-limits to tourists?

    "In Rwanda, high-value tourism permits generate over $18 million per year, contributing to the repopulation of gorillas from a mere 254 in 1981 to 600 in 2019," notes Tiffany Misrahi, ...

  15. Titan sub tragedy: ethics of extreme tourism in the spotlight

    Despite this, "one of the odd things about extreme tourism is that risk seems to attract rather than deter customers", said the Financial Times. The paper listed a series of tourism-related ...

  16. Extreme Tourism Is a Booming Industry for the Rich, But Is It Ethical

    09/15/2023. In June, the world was gripped by the disappearance of a deep-sea submersible that was taking paying customers—essentially, tourists—more than 2 miles deep into the ocean to visit the Titanic wreck site. The customers aboard the OceanGate vessel Titan were seeking the adventure of a lifetime, and they had paid handsomely for it.

  17. The most extreme adventures on Earth

    Death Valley (USA): Visiting Death Valley National Park in California is unlike any walk in any other park. Death Valley holds the record as the hottest place on Earth. RHONA WISE/AFP/AFP/Getty ...

  18. A Failed Trip to the Titanic Displays the Dangers of Extreme Tourism

    Upneja: Extreme tourism is anything that is high-risk, and it happens in often dangerous, remote locations. It provides a unique and thrilling experience for participants. It challenges your physical and mental limits. Some examples might be mountain climbing, skydiving, bungee jumping, and white water rafting. There are so many different kinds ...

  19. News

    One of the more renowned extreme hotels is the Icehotel in Sweden. Every winter, since 1989, this hotel situated 200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle is rebuilt from ice and snow.

  20. The Deadly Delight of Extreme Tourism: Balancing Thrills, Risks, and

    On 18th June 2023, tragedy struck when the Titan submersible imploded, leading to the death of five people on board an expedition to witness the remains of the Titanic shipwreck. Despite the risks and dangers involved, extreme tourism is gaining popularity day by day. Extreme tourism, also known as shock tourism, is a form of travel that is ...

  21. Three ways climate change makes adventure tourism riskier

    Environment correspondent, BBC World Service. Climate change is making adventure tourism more challenging and sometimes riskier, travel industry bodies, tour operators and experts have told the ...

  22. Lost at sea: Titan victims killed in extreme adventure tourism

    Extreme adventure tourism has made global headlines over recent years, marketing potentially dangerous adventures to paying customers. The loss of the Titan this week shed light on a relatively ...

  23. The Extreme Effort to Make That $10,000 Adventure Vacation Seem

    The Extreme Effort to Make That $10,000 Adventure Vacation Seem Effortless Before Backroads trip leaders can guide pricey outdoor tours around the globe, they must get through a two-week boot camp

  24. How we make travel and tourism inclusive and sustainable

    The global travel sector is experiencing a robust recovery, with tourists increasingly spending more on travel. Despite the overall positive outlook, some destinations struggle with operational challenges, including workforce issues and resource management amid rising tourist numbers and environmental concerns.

  25. Why a rise in 'tourism-phobia' should give Australians flocking to

    Since pandemic travel restrictions eased, tourism has come surging back and Europe is copping an influx of visitors in record numbers. And some locals aren't happy about it. Anti-tourism graffiti ...

  26. A Tourist From New Mexico Is Killed by an Elephant in Zambia

    Share full article Elephants navigating traffic in Kazungula, Botswana, west of the Zambian city of Livingstone. An American tourist from New Mexico died after an elephant charged at her in ...

  27. Dangerous heat is shifting this week. Here's where it will go next

    • Record-breaking weekend heat: Daily high-temperature records were broken from New York to Mississippi over the weekend, including some that were more than a century old, as a brutal heat wave ...

  28. France bans extreme-right and radical Islamic groups ahead of

    France's government on Wednesday ordered the dissolution of extreme right and radical Muslim groups, four days before the first round of high-stakes legislative elections.

  29. Deaths at Hajj and Big Events Highlight Failures to Adjust to Heat

    At large events all over the world, the scenes of extreme heat stress are starting to look familiar. Older men, shirts undone, lying down with their eyes closed. Aid tents packed with the unconscious.

  30. Well Beyond the U.S., Heat and Climate Extremes Are Hitting Billions

    Poll workers. Pilgrims. Tourists on a hike. All have died in blistering heat in recent weeks around the world, a harrowing reminder of the global dangers of extreme weather as a heat wave bears ...