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Booking a holiday is reported to be the most exciting part of any break away: the decisions to be made, the anticipation and excitement of having a break, the packing, and the general build up of the plane trip to your dream destination all add something to the magic. Nothing can compare to lying on the beach, with the sand between your toes and the sunrays beaming down on you. Unless, that is you are an extreme snow-boarding, quad-biking, windsurfing, kite-surfing or speed skiing activity junkie and then nothing will compare to getting wet, speeding and falling over. The rise of the extreme sports holiday packages has rocketed higher than a bungee jumpers' insurance premium, and this is due to the media's love of new programmes that highlight the dangers of such activities. Once upon a time, swing bridges in Centerparcs and giant water slides in holiday complexes were the most dangerous pastimes on any holiday; these days thousands of people are taking extreme sports into the mainstream. This is supported too with leading specialist providers such as Neilson's and Crystal, who are gaining a strong foothold with dedicated activities and brochures featuring mountain-biking and white-water rafting. Recently, a consumer poll found that 25 per cent of 16-24 year olds had participated in extreme sports, which is now the fastest growing segment of the leisure industry. This is because the variety of sports is growing every year, with more and more crazy concoctions being introduced such as extreme ironing and base-jumping. With more and more people becoming hooked into the extreme lifestyle, more of the major leisure tour operators are cashing in. Mainstream travel providers are beginning to capitalise on the expansion of such a niche market, offered by the smaller travel firms. First Choice for instance now offer a range of sports such as canyoning through to kayaking, Mark Warner Holidays offers kite-surfing courses and even Saga Holidays offer extreme sports for the over fifties. Although with the credit crunch now truly taking a hold on the UK, the prediction is that participation in these extreme sports will decline, as a recent Mintel study identified that in the extreme sports market less than 1 per cent of the UK population participated because it was considered expensive. This too would be reflected in gap year travel insurance which for an active extreme member would carry much higher premiums than for someone relaxing on the beach for two weeks. So if extreme sports do seem appealing and you want to dip your toe in the water of that fast and furious lifestyle, holiday companies are recommending something slightly more mainstream such as mountain-biking and snow-boarding, as opposed to extreme ironing!

Adam Singleton writes for a digital marketing agency. This article has been commissioned by a client of said agency. This article is not designed to promote, but should be considered professional content.

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