Adventure Based Travel
Tourism is a powerful industry, one with the influence to transform economies around the world. So it’s only natural that sub-sectors develop and evolve within the tourism platform. Gaining strength and growing in prominence is adventure tourism. According to a George Washington University study, conducted in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), consumers spent more than $89 billion worldwide on adventure travel in 2012 and it is expected to continue growing at about 16% every year.
One reason for this change is a global, cultural shift toward people wanting more transformative experiences. Explorative and innovative travel, community engagement and “dialing down the bling” are all part of the latest trends. Cementing this sector’s mainstream appeal is campaigns like Tourism Queensland, who teamed with pop culture figure Oprah Winfrey to market Australian tourism. Similarly, shows based on the evolution of expedition-discovery, like The Amazing Race, Survivor and the National Geographic Channel, have all played a role in creating a market for this category.
The momentum for adventure tourism revolves around a desire by participants to step outside their comfort zones and see the world in a new way. Its broad base includes not only those that seek physical challenge and risk, but also those looking for intellectual, spiritual and emotional adventures. The common thread of adventure-based travel is empowerment of travelers to awaken to, and ultimately transform their lives through a physical activity, cultural exchange or engagement with nature.
In its most traditional form, adventure travel is typically grouped into either "hard" or "soft" adventures. Hard adventures involve some kind of extreme sporting activity: paragliding, rock climbing, surfing, spelunking or scuba diving in remote and exotic locations. Soft adventures are leisurely and entail less strenuous activities where the focus is often on education. Activities such as archeological tours, culinary or wine classes, bird watching, canoeing, fishing and horseback riding all fall within these parameters.
However, the most significant finding in recent studies by the ATTA is the emergence of cerebral pursuits, consisting of adventures that don’t necessarily involve high levels of risk, challenge or physical fitness. Instead, they rely more on immersion and discovery such as historic exploration, volunteer tourism and religious pilgrimages, where cultural and environmentally sustainable activities are top priority and travelers have the opportunity to get personal with the local population. These first-hand experiences tend to leave powerful and lasting impressions, often inspiring thoughtful and helpful action.
Whether hard, soft or cerebral, adventure travel is gaining favor because it involves healthy-physical activities, allows for a deeper cultural exchange and an appreciation for the fragility of places. It is also more often viewed as a “guilt-free” holiday option given that money spent can penetrate more deeply into communities and contribute to local economies. In this vein, adventure travel focuses on a “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profit.
The tourism industry is quickly learning that consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and better able to identify the needs and activities to achieve their personal goals. Adventure industry providers, hoteliers and communities must create and market a broader range of products, refine current services and continually explore the preferences of target audiences to maintain and gain a competitive edge.
EDSA Project Visits in July to Several High Profile Projects on Hainan Island, China
Ryan Clifton and Matt Renauld recently had the opportunity to visit five different EDSA project sites currently under construction across Hainan Island in southern China. The visits gave our designers the opportunity to conduct field observations of current construction and final walk-throughs to review final design details for our Clients. “The size of the proposed projects and the ability to construct these developments at such a large scale is very impressive”, said Ryan Clifton.
Matt Renauld added: “I was excited to see that the time and efforts made by our studio to model and study the proposed amenities and details in Sketch Up paid great dividends. It was amazing to compare the finished built product to our studies and to see how the scale and detail worked perfectly."
Project: Wenchang Resort - Wenchang, Hainan Island, China
EDSA has been working closely with KWG Properties on the Wenchang Resort since 2011. Our efforts kicked-off with a master plan charette that led to full design services through construction documentation. The overall master plan has been carefully constructed to maximize ocean views, while creating an open space system that links all users to the oceanfront. Modern styled amenities and features will blend with rustic materials and traditional design to create memorable places and experiences for users and guests. The central focal point of the resort, is the clubhouse, which has been positioned atop the ridge line and at the heart of the open space system. Its amenity terraces are highlighted by the dramatic infinity edge swimming pool, which offers unparalleled panoramic views to the South China Sea. EDSA has completed conceptual design, master planning and construction documents for this exciting project, which will be officially opening in the Fall of 2013.
Green Roof Installation
Panorama photos of the gatehouse arrival
The Wenchang clubhouse amenity area is designed to open out to views of the South China Sea and is highlighted by the infinity edge pool
Wenchang SketchUP before and after shots
Mission Hills Lan Kwai Fong-Haikou Town Center
EDSA has continued its partnership with Mission Hills Group and contributed to the planning and design of a low-carbon Mission Hills Lan Kwai Fong-Haikou Town Center with hotels, shopping and entertainment that will open later this year. The hotel, shopping and entertainment complex will add 300-plus renowned anchor brands such as, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance and Hard Rock hotels, ice-skating and ten-pin bowling attractions to the resort that is already home to the world’s largest collection of volcanic golf courses. The EDSA team had the opportunity to visit the site and see the construction progress.
EDSA VP Ryan Clifton reviews towncenter construction with the client
Mission Hills towncenter rendering (by Callison)
EDSA SketchUP of Mission Hills towncenter
Quarry Lake at Mission Hills' Town Center core
The Town Center core is focused on the Quarry Lake, which will create a magnificent visual centerpiece as guests arrive to the Town Center. The lake acts as a backdrop and stage for a sweeping water and light show that will activate the site at all times of the day. The edges of the lake are designed to offer a variety of experiences for the user, while offering sweeping views of the retail and entertainment uses.
Quarry Lake current construction progress
August Workshop in Xishuangbanna, China
Principal Scott LaMont shares his experience at this workshop:
"During this trip, we were hiking for days on end in the rain forested mountains of Xishuangbanna. Throughout the journey, we spent time in the local mountain villages visiting with the local village leaders in their homes. In fact, we had the opportunity to share in their local new year’s celebration; which was a very memorable and bonding experience. In the villages, our team studied their architecture and the layouts of the homes learning how and why their public and private open spaces were configured so perfectly on the steep hillsides. They had it right. And we were determined to let their approach guide our future design work.
In the end, this experience inspired our team and the client to move forward and explore the concept of incorporating these villages into the heart of the project, allowing the future visitors of this unique destination to enjoy and experience what we had."
Principal Scott LaMont leading design strategy on the field
Water damage to Danny Bulemore's sketchbook
dinner at a local village
Stormwater As An Amenity
eReach Issue #5
There are few elements as essential to life as water. As a significant commodity in both natural and created settings, water provides a diverse range of aesthetic and recreational opportunities for new developments. Its sound, motion and cooling effect have universal appeal. It connotes refreshment and stimulates verdant growth. With its playful and therapeutic qualities, water is a resource we are forever trying to preserve, conserve, clean and reuse. Given the increasing emphasis on environmentally sensitive approaches to living, working and playing, water has become a critical, central resource in the design and planning of environments around the world. It is therefore a particularly pertinent time to employ new modes of thinking and practices that will change our relationship with this natural resource.
The need for creative thinking about water capture, diversion and reuse has accelerated as land consumption increases along with corresponding storm water run-off volumes. As such, opportunities are present for storm water systems’ design to transform from conventional solutions and thought of as a clear value-added component of good site design. On-site stormwater treatment systems can be designed in such a way as to create site amenities; that is, the rainwater itself becomes a feature – engaging, educating, and even entertaining visitors. Addressed as an amenity, a useful strategy for storm water management is to “start at the source”.
At EDSA, we are combining place-based aquatic design with environmental stewardship for stormwater systems design by employing techniques that focus on non-point source pollution, water balance and small storm hydrology. Design elements and treatment methods such as bio-retention, vegetated swales and rain-garden systems address stormwater management while adding distinct amenity value to projects. For example, beautifully designed retention ponds have long been recognized by developers and communities for their visual and recreational value. By providing conditions that are favorable for interacting with stormwater treatment systems, guests, residents and visitors can find the water-based features relaxing, amusing, refreshing and educational.
Numerous opportunities exist for artful rainwater management integration to contribute to the quality of landscapes. A rich aesthetic can be created through the combination of forms, colors and sounds that provide visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory experiences by contrasting natural and built elements through a variety of aquatic rhythms of water related hardscape and plant material. By using water collection basins as features and focal points, people experience stormwater in different forms such as flowing, falling, splashing, standing and sheeting as a means of making green infrastructure visible. Interaction can be achieved through effective and strategically placed seating or viewsheds for those strolling or biking on well-placed paths. Downspouts, runnels and flumes draw attention to the line of the stormwater trail enhancing legibility as well as interest and curiosity. Overlooks, destination points, seat walls and off-site trail systems promote physical exploration that balance perception of safety with adventure.
Dealing with runoff strategically and effectively is of paramount importance to property owners and developers both financially and aesthetically. Now more than ever, it is imperative to integrate stormwater improvements into the surrounding community fabric as part of a socially and ecologically responsible development.
Golden Pebble Winery
A LaMont Studio Project
Perhaps the beginning of the wine industry in China can be traced back to 1892. In that year, Zhang Yu Wine Company was established as China’s first large-scale, modern vineyard in the Shandong Province with a vine stock from Europe. Since then, the wine market, still in its infancy, continues to grow from almost zero consumption a decade ago to a loyal following. It is this growing demand which is driving the emergence of the industry.
Conceived as the first winery development in the Liaoning Province, the Golden Pebble Winery offers a relaxed, agrarian escape from the nearby city of Dalian. EDSA, in partnership with Dalian Golden Pebble Winery Co., Ltd. and SBA recognized the importance of this project as a pioneer in region’s emerging wine industry and the unique opportunity it presents for residents to live among the vines and connect with the wine culture. With a 100 year grape plantation history, the site takes advantage of the natural rolling hills and mountain backdrop while design elements create a horizontal and vertical plan that complements the beauty and character of the Golden Pebble valley. At more than 200 hectares, the development scheme consists of a full production winery, boutique hotel, commercial village, welcome center and luxury residential offerings that build upon the global cultural experience, community heritage and inherent landscape style.
The Golden Pebble Winery design philosophy was developed through a series of collaborative on-site workshops led by EDSA and SBA. The resulting plan effectively enhances onsite resources with a unique residential and recreational environment. While program elements have distinguishing characteristics, details reference the regional agrarian history to maintain consistency throughout the property. Also infused within the design is a winery focus which authenticates the project’s purpose. For example, buildings are arranged to allow transparency to the surrounding vineyards and commercial function areas are clustered in a linear valley surrounded by vine-clad hillsides. The pedestrian-oriented, outdoor spaces encourage exploration of the natural setting and provide for active, stimulating and walkable streets that create useable public spaces and balance surrounding uses.
The landscape palette for the Golden Pebble Winery is inspired directly by the valley within which it sits. Simple, organic shapes carry waves of various grasses and shrub masses across the project’s mounded topography. The vineyard’s positioning across the entry roadway offers guests the opportunity to pass directly through the vineyard, a new experience unique to the Golden Pebble Winery. Trees are not random, but placed informally and strategically to help define and compliment the larger moves of the understory. The design is intended to extend the dense planting of the surrounding hillside towards the valley with defined collections of specimens and accent plantings for interest.
EDSA focused on crafting a cohesive vision and unified brand for the property that transforms and integrates the natural and built environment with the wine culture, ultimately providing for a better experience for commercial, hotel and residential offerings. By enhancing pedestrian connectivity and providing a continuous experience between all programmed elements the greatest value was achieved. Through proper planning, site design and a collaborative partnership, the Golden Pebble Winery is properly positioned as the region’s charter wine destination and premier agri-toursim resort. EDSA provided conceptual master planning through detailed design services. The welcome center is currently under construction. http://www.edsaplan.com/en/Portfolio/Golden-Pebble-Winery