Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tornado-chasing becomes vacation choice, researchers find

Date:
September 17, 2010
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Instead of heading to the coast for vacation, people are traveling to Tornado Alley. The number of people registering to get a closer look at tornadoes is growing as vacationers trade in their beach towels for a ride with storm chasers. Labeled "Tornado Tourists" by a University of Missouri research team, these travelers are searching for an experience beyond just thrills.

A tornado in a field.
Credit: iStockphoto/Patrick Heagney

Instead of heading to the coast for vacation, people are traveling to Tornado Alley. The number of people registering to get a closer look at tornadoes is growing as vacationers trade in their beach towels for a ride with storm chasers. Labeled "Tornado Tourists" by a University of Missouri research team, these travelers are searching for an experience beyond just thrills.

Sonja Wilhelm Stanis and Carla Barbieri, associate professors in the School of Natural Resources Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, found that most of these travelers aren't just looking for risk; rather, they are seeking a unique and unconventional opportunity to enjoy nature's power and beauty.

"With the help of movies like Twister, storm-chasing has become an international phenomenon," Barbieri said. "While more than half of the surveyed travelers lived in North America, 11 percent came from Australia and nearly a third traveled from Europe to get a close encounter with a tornado."

Handling three to 10 tours per season, experienced meteorologists and trained storm chasers are serving as tour guides using sophisticated equipment to track the severe weather on the road. Typically costing between $3,000 and $5,000, not including food and hotels, the tours last one to two weeks as tour guides drive among tornado watch areas in a van.

The study found that most of the amateur storm chasers were happy with their experiences. One-third of the tourists experienced a tornado, while 50 percent spotted funnel clouds and more than 95 percent reported seeing a significant atmospheric event. Most respondents were so satisfied, they said they would take another tour and recommended tornado chasing to their friends.

"Although tornado tourism is a small niche market, the market continues to grow with help from television shows and movies," Stanis said. "Storm-chasing tours continue to develop as a part of the Midwest's tourism scene, with tours filling up as much as a year in advance."

The research team presented the first demographic and socio-psychographic profile of the tornado tourists to a national academic audience at the 2010 Northeaster Recreation Research Symposium in New York. These tornado tourists were introduced into the broader research category called "risk recreation and tourism" that includes activities such as skydiving and white-water rafting.

"Tornado tourists were found to be primarily middle-aged, single, highly educated and wealthy," Babieri said. "With this information, storm-chasing tour guides will be better able to cater to their market."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Tornado-chasing becomes vacation choice, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916170921.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2010, September 17). Tornado-chasing becomes vacation choice, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916170921.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Tornado-chasing becomes vacation choice, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100916170921.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins