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Ocean coasts and islands by sea kayak

A number of adventure tourism operators worldwide offer commercial multiday sea kayak trips where the key attraction is provided by the activity and the scenery rather than by any expectation of seeing unusual marine wildlife. Such tours are on offer, for example, in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Turkey, the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia, Scotland, Alaska, Canada, and various parts of the USA. The operational structure of some of these sea kayaking tour products is described by Buckley (2006a). The sea kayaking sector is also analysed quite extensively by Cater and Cater (2007).

Some commercial sea kayaking operators offer only fully guided and catered tours in relatively remote locations. These are expensive because of the high client-to-guide ratio and the need either to bring in equipment by air for every trip, or to maintain an inventory of equipment which is only used seasonally. Other enterprises, in contrast, have an extended season or operate year-round, and also rent sea kayaks for unaccompanied trips, the sea kayak equivalent of the bare-boat charter.

One such operator is Natural High Adventures in New Zealand (Buckley, 2006a; Cater and Cater, 2007). This company generates a high volume of sea kayaking business through various strategies, including: intensive local marketing in nearby Nelson, effectively an adventure gateway town; cross-marketing with its mountain-biking business; and selling short sea kayak tours to large international student groups visiting New Zealand from North America.

The company offers sea kayak rentals, motorboat shuttles, guiding, catering, food delivery, accommodation bookings, camping equipment rentals, and bus shuttles as a suite of separately purchasable products, a strategy which seems to work well in a high-volume market.

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