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Levada walks and canyoning as mountain sport products in nature tourism


Physical activities organised in nature have earned more commitment from tourists who intend to actively visit natural and authentic environments. This paper analyses the profile and the perceptions of active tourists who experienced canyoning and levada walking in the mountains of Madeira Island.

The study uses a quantitative methodology analysis, based on an anonymous questionnaire designed for 160 levada walker tourists and 130 canyoning tourists. Differences were found between the two groups in terms of their profile and assessment of the two activities. The levada walking profile is the one of older, but more active tourists who stay on the island more than 6 days and intend to experience unique and memorable activities related to waterways, mountain trails and cultural landscapes in a sense of freedom and well-being that nature provides. The canyoning profile is the one of younger tourists, more male than female, who are less active, travelling by cruise, and is with an emphasis on the challenges and natural barriers afforded by the steep and unpredictable characteristics of canyons (hedonism). The findings recommend segmentation of the tourists and a strategy for tourism destinations that highlight culture, endemic forest, authentic landscapes and the hospitality of local people in active tourism services.

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