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(SEATTLE) SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 – Entrepreneurs representing an ecotourism wilderness lodge operated by the Moose Cree First Nation people of James Bay, Canada; an eco lodge operated by members of Ethiopia’s Eastern Cushitic, ethno-linguistic Konso culture; and a bicycle ambulance service operated by community volunteers in Malawi, topped out 141 aspiring leaders seeking financial backing to attend the 2009 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), a trade-only professional and business development conference for adventure tourism executives.
To assist deserving adventure tour operators in growing responsibly, today the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and Teva® (a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, NASDAQGS: DECK), named the following winners of a joint, first-time scholarship program that provides financial support to early-stage adventure tourism enterprises (Project descriptions and tourism operations are available through the URLs provided.):
- Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures/Bikes Without Borders – Toronto, Canada/Malawi
- Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge – Konso, Ethiopia
- Washow Lodge – Moose Cree First Nation, Ontario, Canada
Providing young businesses with access to the ATTA’s global network, its membership resources and financial assistance to attend the October 2009 Summit is the intent behind the ATTA Tour Operator Scholarship Program. The program is made possible through a grant by Teva and managed by the association.
Each of the three scholarship recipients for 2009 receive:
- complimentary membership in the ATTA for one year ($500 USD value);
- entry to the 2009 ATWS ($895 USD value), a trade-only professional and business development conference for executives set for October 19-22 in Charlevoix, Québec, Canada; and
- $1,000 USD travel stipend for travel to the ATWS.
“Through our scholarship program, travel outfitters are rewarded for creating forward-thinking initiatives that enhance the adventure travel experience and benefit the local region at the same time,” said Liz Ferrin, Teva Branded Content Manager. “We look forward to watching how these first-time scholarship recipients will make a difference in the communities where they operate.”
Five finalists also were considered for their good work and sustainable practices:
- Black Mountain Montenegro Ltd. – Herceg Novi, Montenegro
- KumbukRiver Eco Extraordinaire – Dambeyaya, Sri Lanka
- SocialTours.com travels – Kathmandu, Nepal
- Ultimate Belize Adventure Travel – San Ignacio, Belize
- WAVES for Development International – New York, USA/Peru
“Choosing winners from such an incredibly rich, innovative and diverse applicant pool was a difficult task,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “After studying many deserving applications, we’re confident that the responsible adventure tourism development projects to be led by this year’s winners and finalists are poised for success.”
Entries were reviewed by ATTA and Teva staff. Each of the 141 applicants were evaluated on the following criteria:
- Demonstrated need (start-up’s, nonprofit status – though not a requirement, located in an emerging but impoverished destination, etc.),
- Potential for positive impact on local cultural, ecological, and/or historical resources;
- Exemplary ecological, historical, and cultural practices;
- Exemplary efforts to work with local and indigenous peoples;
- Proof of the highest level of professional ethics and practices; and
- Ability to prove how this Scholarship will be used to elevate the business to achieve a higher level of success – and how it can be utilized sustainably to build long-term and lasting success for the company and the people and places visited.
“We are buzzing with adrenaline at being selected,” said Mike Brcic, President of Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures. “As a small but growing business that is pushing the envelope on sustainable tourism, we’re excited for the opportunity to meet and learn from other tour operators, as well as share our innovative ideas with others in the global adventure travel community. And, given that we’re putting together a new trip in Quebec, the timing couldn’t be better!”
The scholarship will be used by selected incorporated tour operators to grow their business, network, develop their professional skills, and be mentored and inspired by industry peers and influencers.
Founded in 1984, Teva began with an unassuming Grand Canyon river guide and an idea that would become the world’s very first sports sandal. The first pairs of Teva footwear were sold out of a van to friends and fellow boaters at the various put-ins along the river. From this beginning a culture of passion for adventure has defined the Teva lifestyle. Today, Teva remains committed to both the innovation in footwear suited for the adventure lifestyle and the protection of the earth’s waterways. Teva is a division of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, NASDAQGS: DECK. Deckers Outdoor Corporation strives to be a premier lifestyle marketer that builds niche brands into global market leaders by designing and marketing innovative, functional and fashion-oriented footwear
developed for both high performance outdoor activities and everyday casual lifestyle use. Teva®, Simple®Shoes, UGG® Australia, TSUBO®, and Ahnu® are registered trademarks of Deckers Outdoor Corporation.
About the Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the ATTA (www.adventuretravel.biz) is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, networking, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market. ATTA members include tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, specialty travel agents, guides, accommodations, media and service providers. Host of the annual Adventure Travel World Summit executive trade conferences (www.adventuretravelworldsummit.com), the ATTA also makes possible
Adventure.Travel, the traveler‟s hub of physical, cultural and nature-based adventure travel and guide to trusted tour operators from around the globe.