We reach a quar­ter-cen­tury of ad­ven­tures.

25 years

Action Asia - - CONTENTS - AA

BACK IN 1992, MOST OF ASIA WAS FAR LESS ac­ces­si­ble than to­day. Air­lines typ­i­cally con­nected cap­i­tal to cap­i­tal only. Most of those go­ing about places like Indonesia, Philippines or Viet­nam were for­eign back­pack­ers, ac­cept­ing te­dious over­land jour­neys as the nec­es­sary price of travel on the cheap. For many Asians them­selves, for­eign travel was still a lux­ury. Those that did go, mostly hol­i­dayed within the con­fines of re­sorts or went on pack­age tours to Euro­pean cap­i­tals. Few Main­land Chi­nese even had the right to travel over­seas. In cities like Hong Kong though, there was ris­ing de­mand from more ad­ven­tur­ous trav­ellers for some­thing dif­fer­ent. Hav­ing en­joyed the beaches of Boracay and Phuket, fre­quent fliers were ready to ven­ture fur­ther afield, to learn to dive, moun­tain bike or climb in new en­vi­ron­ments. It was the ad­vent of what we call to­day ‘ex­pe­ri­en­tial travel’. Get­ting in­for­ma­tion was the hard part. The in­ter­net was only then start­ing to add pic­tures – let alone video – and email was a geeky tool, just be­gin­ning to find wider ac­cep­tance. Along came an English lawyer, Gor­don Old­ham, and an Aus­tralian ad-man, Robert Hous­ton who saw how ad­ven­ture travel could take hold in Asia. The div­ing is the best in the world, it has the tallest moun­tains, some of the might­i­est rivers, dens­est jun­gles and more. Their idea was to launch a mag­a­zine (see the first is­sue’s con­tents page, left) based in Hong Kong that would cover the whole re­gion, of­fer­ing ac­counts from those ad­ven­tur­ing al­ready and en­cour­ag­ing the reader to pick up the skills and gear to join them. A quar­ter of a cen­tury on, the travel scene is trans­formed. Low cost air­lines have brought down the bar­ri­ers to fly­ing at the same time as ris­ing af­flu­ence has al­lowed many more the chance to hit the road. The in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia have rev­o­lu­tionised con­nec­tiv­ity and the spread of in­for­ma­tion. Fit­ness trends have be­come in­creas­ingly con­nected with the out­doors. Ev­ery­one wants to travel ‘ex­pe­ri­en­tially’. To­day ad­ven­ture travel is part of more and more’s peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence of a new place: hik­ers, bik­ers, divers and pad­dlers take their habits of home on the road with them. We’re proud to have pl ayed a par t in pop­u­lar­is­ing a way to look at the re­gion that goes be­yond the ob­vi­ous itin­er­ar­ies of tem­ples and mar­kets. Let’s keep the dis­cov­er­ies com­ing...

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