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What Is Water Tourism?

By K. Kinsella
Updated May 23, 2024
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Water tourism involves traveling to locations specifically to take part in water-based activities. Some people who do not wish to partake in water related activities embark on water tourism trips so that they can visit tourist sites that sit close to bodies of water such as lakes or oceans. Water tourists are often independent travelers, although some travel firms do organize group trips.

Ocean conditions in certain parts of the world are ideally suited to surfing and other types of water sports. People from all over the globe go on water tourism trips to Hawaii, California, Australia and other destinations that are synonymous with surfing. Many of these tourists visit these locations in order to participate in surfing while others come to these places in order to watch professional surfers compete in major competitions. Some travel firms offer package deals to surfers that include hotel accommodation and meals. Local vendors rent out surfboards and other equipment that visitors can use if they want to try their hand at wakeboarding, waterskiing or other sports.

While water tourism often involves active pursuits, some water tourists visit islands and coastal regions in order to participate in more leisurely pursuits such as diving or snorkeling. Travel operators organize tours of coral reefs and arrange for local tour guides to preside over expeditions on which travelers can swim with local marine life such as dolphins or even sharks. Some tour operators also cater to families who are primarily focused on swimming and sunbathing rather than interacting with marine life.

Water vacations sometimes involve inland destinations such as lakes and rivers. Tourists can sail or swim on lakes while many rivers are ideally suited to white water rafting. Some nations such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have extensive canals and water tourists can rent out boats and travel the country via the canals. Other tourists prefer to embark on shorter trips involving rented canoes or kayaks. Additionally, some leisure companies operate water parks that contain swimming pools, water slides and areas for canoeing or kayaking.

Tourists often visit well-known destinations such as major water parks, popular lakes or well renowned beach locations but some travel firms market deluxe vacations to remote regions such as islands in the South Pacific. These trips are designed for people who want to avoid major crowds and who have the financial resources to make their way to these remote destinations. In some instances, water tourists stay in traditional beachfront huts that contain luxury upgrades such as satellite television or king size beds. They can participate in a wide range of water based activities, ranging from fishing to deep sea diving.

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