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At ITB Berlin 2017, Australian start-up Adventure Junky presented tourism professionals with both a world’s first experience and a lot of fun. The Adventure Junky app, Earth’s Adventure Travel Game, is the result of three years of research and development and an ambitious goal that reimagines the way the world travels.
Adventure Junky co-founder Fuchsia Claire Sims introduces the basic premise:
“Imagine all the great travel experiences you’ve ever had, and those still on your bucket list, are all part of a global game. And that each one of these experiences has been given a points score. For each one you complete, or have completed in the past, you are awarded those points and move up the leaderboard. You might simply play against your friends to find out who is the ‘bigger adventurer,’ or play against the world for the prize and title of Earth’s Number 1 Adventure Junky.”
But there is more to Adventure Junky than just fun and games. The team behind the idea brings a diversity of experience, ranging from helping troubled youth turn their lives around through adventure in the jungles of Costa Rica, working with remote indigenous communities to develop self-sufficiency through cultural tourism, developing brand strategies for World Heritage Sites, and advising corporations on how to become carbon neutral.
Every day, three million travellers cross international borders, a number that has been growing exponentially since the 1950s. Within 10 years, the number could double. Are the people and places we love to visit resilient enough to withstand the flood of over-tourism? Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the UNWTO, sums up the challenge facing the industry: “Our natural capital is the environment and culture, and you don’t consume your capital. No business does that.”
In response to this challenge, Adventure Junky established a set of guidelines, with help from the Adventure Travel Trade Association, by which adventures would be selected to appear on the app. In simple terms, adventures must be “high” on experience and “low” on impact if they are to make the cut. By turning “sustainable travel” into a game that everyone loves to play, Adventure Junky aims to ensure sustainability, just as much as experience, is the new standard in travel.
It is not by chance the Adventure Junky app has been designed with the Millennial in mind. At three billion, the generation (aged 18-35) is now officially the world’s biggest demographic. By 2018, it will also overtake Baby Boomers in earning power. Millennials in the United States alone already spend $250 billion USD on travel annually. Their sheer size and influence on social media will ensure Millennials play the leading role in shaping the travel industry for decades to come.
The game aspects (points, patches, leaderboards) of the Adventure Junky app tap directly into the Millennial’s competitive spirit, keeping them coming back to the app and achieving their travel goals – you could say addicted. It also harnesses their love of sharing the experiences that define their lives, and invites them to become co-creators of the game. More than half of the 1,000+ adventures added to the app during the late 2016 testing phase were user-generated.
For the travel marketer, Adventure Junky represents an innovative new social platform, designed to capture and hold the attention of today’s traveler, in spite of the infinite number of choices at our fingertips. With chairman John Morse AM, ex-head of Tourism Australia, overseeing governance and mentoring the management team, not since Airbnb has there been a startup with the potential, concept, strategy, and backing to reinvent the way the world travels.
Adventure Junky currently partners with tourism board partners from Australia, Sweden, Greenland, and Canada, and many of the world’s best-practice tour operators in its mission. Adventure Junky is now seeking a limited number of additional partners – both destination marketers and tour operators to showcase their adventure credentials on the app.
ATTA members receive a 10% discount during March and April 2017. Interested parties should contact:
Sources: Portrait of the Millennial Traveler 2016, Skift, Millennial Week fact sheet, G brief, Adventure Travel Trade Association, UNWTO
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