Tourism Terms and Definitions

One of the challenges we encounter is the various ways we talk about guiding, tourism, experiences and outdoor recreation depending on our context. These are the definitions used throughout this website along with similar wording used by other organizations.

Adventure & Experiential Travel

Adventure: Doing things that are new and different for each of us, doing things that can be a little scary but that also make us curious to explore further.

Adventure Travel: Travel that combines nature, culture and activities with a sense of adventure, often involving some physical or mental exertion and a willingness to step outside of one’s comfort zone.

Event Cycle: Similar to Experience Development, the Event Cycle is a specific planning process defined by the Outdoor Council of Canada that must be part of all tours for guides to be within their Scope of Practice. The Event Cycle consists of the event plan (itinerary), the event (the tour) and a reflection process for continuous improvement.

Experience: Memorable activities that create connections with place and people.

Experience Development: The sum of all the actions and considerations necessary to create a quality tour and improve future ones. This includes the Event Cycle.

Experiential Travel: A broader concept than Adventure Travel focusing on active and meaningful engagement with the places visited, including its history, people, culture, food and environment.

Direct Instruction: A teacher-directed method that uses of straightforward, explicit teaching techniques. It is usually used to teach a specific skill. In a guiding context it is often the best option when short term performance is the goal rather than long term learning. This is part of what is sometimes referred to as “sage on the stage” guiding.

Field Leader Certification: A set of national course standards developed by the Outdoor Council of Canada that include minimum requirements for outdoor leaders to obtain certification.

Guests: The people who take part in the tour and for whom you will be responsible. Guests can include clients, students, friends, club members, children, etc. The OCC refers to guests as “participants”.

Guest Experience: The result of all the interactions between a guest and the organization, measured against the guest’s expectations.

Guide: Any person taking a leadership role for others under their care while delivering an experience. This is similar to the Field Leader as defined by the Outdoor Council of Canada.

Guided Discovery: A learning model that encourages guests to discover concepts on their own, with the support of the guide facilitating the experience. In the guiding context this is a great option to create engagement and to promote long term learning. This is part of what is sometimes referred to as “guide on the side” guiding.

Itinerary: The collection of all the information required to deliver a tour, including the vision, schedule, risk management plan and emergency response plan. The OCC refers to itineraries as “event plans”.

Outdoors: Any place outside that requires some thought and management to ensure people remain comfortable and engaged in the activity. Outdoor environments can be fairly close to accessible services or in remote natural spaces. Typically, situations such as team sports outside are not included in this definition.

Scope of Practice: The procedures, actions, and processes that a guide is permitted or required to undertake in keeping with the terms of their professional license.

Three Seasons: Environmental conditions that do not meet the criteria for winter.

Tourism: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines it as the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes. In general, activities taking place 40 km or further away from one’s residence are considered tourism.

Tours: Includes all the activities your guests take part in from the moment they join until the moment they leave you. The OCC refers to tours as “events”.

Venue: Used interchangeably with location and work site as the place where the tour takes place.

Winter: The presence of two or more of these factors will qualify as winter conditions. In some cases, only one factor may be sufficient to create conditions that are challenging enough to qualify as winter.

  • The average temperature during your tour is forecasted or recorded as 5ºC or lower.
  • Most of the ground is covered in snow.
  • Snow is forecasted or is falling during your tour.
  • Long periods of moderate to heavy rain are forecasted or experienced during your tour and the temperatures are 10ºC or lower.
  • Strong winds are forecasted or felt for a sustained portion of your tour.
  • Your tour takes place between October 1st and April 1st.

The Visitor Economy

Visitor Economy: The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) defines it as any direct, indirect, and induced economic activity resulting from visitors interactions with their destination. It includes everything that makes a place special and attractive to a visitor.

Tourism: The United Nations Word Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines tourism to include the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes. Typically a one-way travel of 40 to 80 km is required for an activity to be considered tourism.

Demand Generators: The attractions, activities and things to see and do in a region that are the primary motivator for a visitor to travel to that region.

Demand Supporters: The attractions, activities and things to see and do in a region that are not the main motivator for visiting but contribute to the overall appeal of the destination and can be added to an itinerary.

Hidden Gems: may not be something you would consider part of your destination’s tourism offering but have potential to add value to your visitor’s experience.

Destination Marketing / Managing Organizations

Destination Marketing/Management Organization (DMO): An organization that promotes and supports the development of a destination.

Destination Canada: The crown corporation, owned by the Government of Canada, responsible for the promotion of tourism in Canada.

Travel Alberta: The crown corporation, owned by the Government of Alberta, responsible for the promotion of tourism in Alberta.

David Thompson Country: The tourism brand for Clearwater County, the Town of Rocky Mountain House and the Village of Caroline.

Central Alberta Tourism Alliance (CATA): A group of Economic Development Officers from Central Alberta municipalities working together to develop tourism within Central Alberta.

Travel Trade and Business Development

Travel Trade: The distribution network for the sale of travel experiences and products.

Travel Agencies: Retail companies that sell tourism products directly to consumers.

Online Travel Agencies (OTA): An e-commerce website selling tourism products directly to consumers.

Tour Operators: Distribution companies that purchase travel products in bulk from suppliers (tours and activity providers, hotels, airlines, attractions) for sale to travel agencies, other tour operators or directly to visitors.

Receptive Tour Operators: Canada based tour operators that specialize in distributing Canadian travel products on the international markets.

Net Rates / Pricing: The wholesale rate offered to tour operators, travel agencies and packaging partners.

FAM Tour: Familiarization tours provided to members of the media and travel trades for them to obtain first hand experience of the travel product, itinerary or destination. FAM tours are free or offered at a discounted rate.

Visitor Ready: A business that has permits, licenses and insurance in place requried to operate legally. Also refered to as Traveller Ready.

Market Ready: A business that has the processes in place to market their products on the regional markets.

Export Ready: A business that has the processes in place to market their products on the national and international markets.

Your Ideal Guests

Explorer Quotient (EQ): A market segmentation tool from Destination Canada that looks at the travellers beliefs, attitudes and values to better understand their travel motivations.

Responsible and Sustainable Tourism

Responsible Tourism: Responsible tourism is any form of tourism that can be consumed in a more responsible way.

Sustainable Tourism: The UNWTO defines it as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.