France & Costa Rica Join Top Adventure Destinations with Release of New Adventure Tourism Development Index

Written By:
Casey Hanisko

ATDI-2015-14(SEATTLE) March 24, 2015 –  The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA; and George Washington University have just published the fifth edition of the Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI). The ATDI is a ranking of countries around the world for adventure competitiveness, based on the factors that make adventure tourism destinations excel. ATDI scores are not a reflection of a country’s current popularity or visitation numbers for adventure travel, although in some cases a country’s ranking does correlate with those factors.

The ATDI is based on principles of sustainable adventure tourism and is calculated through a combination of expert survey data and quantitative data gathered from international indices. The report analyzes developed and developing countries separately.

The top 10 developed and developing countries are as follows, in order of ranking:

Developed Countries: Switzerland, Iceland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, Finland, Sweden, France

Developing Countries:  Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Chile, Poland, Israel, Slovenia, Korea Republic, Costa Rica

“It is a fantastic motivation to be recognized as a top adventure destination,” says Switzerland Tourism’s Urs Eberhard. “We will still strive to improve in our efforts wherever possible.”

The top nine destinations in both categories for 2015 remained the same, although many switched ranking orders. Japan exited since the 2011 ATDI to make room for France in the developed nations category. Costa Rica joined the list of developing nations in the 10th spot by outranking Hungary.

“At a time when both environmental and social forces are experiencing turbulent rates of change, we are beginning to see how the complex relationships between factors affect real life tourism outcomes,” says Christina Beckmann, who heads the ATTA’s Research & Education efforts. “The ATDI is an important tool our industry can use to understand how we can better promote adventure travel, which requires less development than traditional industry.”

The report also discusses the most dramatic ranking shifts outside of the top ten list, citing examples of how and why nations can affect measurable change in their scores. For example, Serbia advanced from 65th place to 34th mostly via improvements in areas within the Safety and Humanitarian pillars, while the Syrian Arab Republic experienced a 53 position drop due to new information around factors in the Humanitarian pillars. It should be noted some of the shifts in ranking are due to new research being available since 2011 versus any policy shifts in country.

With the goal of promoting and informing sustainable development of adventure tourism, the ATDI was created to support entrepreneurs and governments who want to create and market sustainable adventure tourism products and services for the benefit of communities and the environment.

The new Adventure Tourism Development Index is available for download from the Adventure Travel Trade Association research center. The previous edition of the ATDI report (2011) is also available for free download.

About the Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 1,000 members in over 80 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism. (

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About The George Washington University

In the heart of the nation’s capital with additional programs in Virginia, the George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the District of Columbia. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study, as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and more than 130 countries. The International Institute of Tourism Studies is a research institute within the GW School of Business focused on research, professional development and technical outreach in the tourism and related sectors.

1 Comment to France & Costa Rica Join Top Adventure Destinations with Release of New Adventure Tourism Development Index

  1. Dr. Stan McGahey

    Under the list of developing countries, what is Korea Republic? Are you referring to the Republic of Korea (ROK) which is better known as South Korea, and set to host its second Olympics in 2018? Or, do you mean the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is better known as North Korea, and has no appreciable tourism industry.

    My guess is that you are referring to the ROK. But listing it as a developing country, which I assume is based mainly on its economic status, show gross ignorance of economic reality. South Korea has had one of the world’s top dozen economies for many years. Are you using some other criteria? If not, I think you owe the ROK a big apology!

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