Due to the fast growing nature of the adventure tourism industry and the commodification of adventure activities therein, improved understanding of adventure tourism experiences and mountaineer adventure tourists in particular is needed. In an effort to move beyond traditional market segmentation approaches, this study analysed autoethnographical data from an adventure tourism mountaineering experience in Bolivia. This autoethnographic method facilitated a deeper understanding of mountaineering adventure tourism experiences and allowed for a multifaceted view of risk perceptions that has often been neglected in the literature. Data were analysed with a robust psychological framework (i.e. reversal theory) that was used to explain: (a) paradoxical desires for risk and safety in adventure tourism and (b) emotional and motivational fluctuations experienced by mountaineer adventure tourists. The importance of creating a ‘protective frame’ to ensure enjoyable experiences was identified, along with key factors that influenced this frame (e.g. guide behaviour, equipment, safety management procedures, other tourists, environmental conditions). Implications for adventure tourism practitioners are discussed, along with theoretical analyses. The utility of autoethnographic research in adventure settings, particularly in conjunction with established psychological theory, is highlighted and suggested as a fruitful avenue through which to enhance the adventure tourism discourse.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mackenzi/6/