Adventure Travel Trade Association Facilitates Commitment Towards a Transformative Future for Tourism Among Forward Thinking Nations

16 February 2022

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) has facilitated the signing of an important declaration towards a more transformative future for tourism among countries seeking to build their adventure travel industry while contributing to a sustainable and regenerative recovery for the tourism industry overall.  

During ATTA’s AdventureNEXT Latin America held earlier this month, Panama’s Minister of Tourism, Iván Eskildsen gathered tourism counterparts from Colombia (Ricardo Galindo Bueno), Costa Rica (Gustavo Alvarado), Ecuador (Niels Olsen), Guatemala (Alejandro De León) and Honduras (Luis Guillermo Chévez Contreras). They joined high authorities from Brazil (Secretary of Tourism, Mato Grosso do Sul, Bruno Wendling) and Jordan (Director Malia Asfour, JTBNA) for a round table discussion on commitments toward a more sustainable and transformative future for tourism. ATTA helped facilitate this discussion as part of its ongoing commitment to act on UNWTO’s call for the public and private sectors to work together and seize the opportunity to place sustainability and inclusivity at the heart of the tourism sector’s restart and recovery.

“It was inspiring to have all of these countries who arguably see the biggest benefits from a robust tourism industry, gathered together and agree unanimously on how tourism needs to recover sustainably,” says ATTA’s CEO Mr. Shannon Stowell. “There were no questions on the commitments that needed to be made as tourism leaders, rather on collaboration and needing to work together for the benefit of the global industry.” 

Additional signatories included Gabriella Stowell, ATTA’s regional director for Latin American and Caribbean, and Fernando Fondevila, director general Promotur Panama.  

The declaration, entitled: Transformation Towards The Tourism of the Future proclaimed:

  • WE AGREE that the future of tourism is collaborative, bringing together the ancestral wisdom of local and Indigenous communities with pioneering scientific, business and economic knowledge in service to long-term stewardship of integrated ecosystems.  
  • WE BELIEVE the future of tourism is regenerative.  It is our opportunity to rethink the way we interact with nature and people to regenerate invaluable ancestral knowledge in order to face the current anthropogenic climate crisis.  
  • WE RECOGNIZE that the future of tourism is green and blue. It is imperative that our industry protect and regenerate the last wild places and carbon sinks in both land and ocean.  
  • WE ARE COMMITTED to the transformation towards a carbon-neutral and more socially resilient tourism economy -including new business models through digitalization - thus providing the opportunity to ensure a fair distribution of its benefits and contributing to a global economic reactivation. 
AdventureNEXT Latin America also marked the first meeting of tourism ministers from these often competing destinations, and the establishment of a cooperative working group for sharing best practices and measures of success to be reviewed annually, facilitated by the ATTA.  

“As well as being a vital trade association within the tourism industry, the ATTA is also an enabler, and I was proud to sign on behalf of Jordan and our experiences as a country working together towards more resilient and sustainable tourism practices,” says Asfour, also an ATTA board member. “When Jordan created the Meaningful Travel Map to showcase tourism social enterprises, we always hoped it would be an example for other countries in the Middle East and beyond to emulate. By gathering together as a working group, these Latin American leaders in tourism will soon be sharing best practices as well to the global tourism industry.” 

With sustainability as a core pillar of ATTA’s vision, AdventureNEXT Latin America Panama was held 9-11 February and focused on Climate, Connection, and Community, with an eye for incorporating innovative tourism strategies. The event’s three-day agenda began with a set of pre-adventures taking place throughout the region, connecting international and regional buyers, alongside travel media, and showcasing the local cuisine, community, and culture of Panama. The conference also included a keynote and roundtable discussions, a marketplace of pre-scheduled meetings to develop partnerships, and networking opportunities that focus on conversations around the positive impact of community-based tourism. 

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is the largest global network of adventure travel leaders. Its mission is to empower the global travel community to protect natural and cultural capital while creating economic value that benefits both trade members and destinations. Stowell hopes this Transformative Tourism declaration is just one of many signed in the years ahead across the global tourism industry.