Originally scheduled to take place in early 2020 but delayed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) North American event AdventureELEVATE 2022, hosted by Travel Oregon and Travel Lane County will take place 3-5 May 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. Often described as one of the friendliest places in the country, Western Oregon has a variety of landscapes and outdoor adventures that appeal to all adventure travelers, where a family could travel from a mountain summit to the Pacific Ocean in a matter of a few hours. The region is a hotbed for craft breweries and award-winning wineries, a major destination for foodies, outdoor recreationists, and counter-culture history buffs. Located at the Southern end of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains to the East and the Oregon Coast to the West.
“The Eugene, Cascades & Coast area is thrilled to host an excellent group of adventure travel leaders at AdventureELEVATE 2022,” says Kari Westlund, CEO and President of Travel Lane County. “Our region of Oregon is a fantastic home base for arts, culinary discoveries and outdoor adventure. We look forward to sharing these experiences and more with attendees this year.”
Embracing the theme Shine, AdventureELEVATE delegates will be joined by industry thought leaders, and given the opportunity to participate in provocative breakout sessions, engage in industry networking opportunities, and gather together with a community of fellow travelers, tour operators, journalists, destination representatives, travel specialists, lodging professionals, and adventure travel innovators. AdventureELEVATE will also include the AdventureExchange, a unique opportunity for delegates to access pre-scheduled, one-on-one meetings at the event. The AdventureExchange will take place during a dedicated three-hour time slot on the third day where all delegates will have an opportunity to pre-select priority meetings with each other.
The AdventureELEVATE experience begins with a Day of Adventure offering delegates the chance to explore the wide variety of captivating landscapes throughout Western Oregon. Taking place on 3 May 2022, the Day of Adventure will include outdoor experiences unique to the region, such as hiking, trail running, cycling, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, horseback riding and wine touring. Broken up to showcase the landscapes of Oregon, delegates will be given opportunities to participate in activities such as horseback riding on the Oregon Coast, wine tasting through the famed Willamette Valley, rafting the McKenzie River, or cycling the covered bridges of Eugene.
Tourism was one of the three largest export-oriented industries in rural Oregon pre-pandemic. In fact, 2019 marked the state’s tenth consecutive year of growth in total travel spending and visitation, growing at an average annual growth rate of 4.3%. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, just like other travel destinations Oregon’s overnight visitor volume decreased by 20.2% in 2020, compared to 2019 levels. COVID-19 was not the only disaster that affected Oregon’s adventure tourism industry. A record-setting wildfire season in 2021 saw over 1,000,000 acres of Oregon burned with 82% of Travel Oregon’s 2020 Oregon Tourism Industry Stakeholder Survey respondents who identified as tour operators/guides/outfitters sharing that their business was negatively impacted specifically by the wildfires on top of the effects of COVID-19.
Although the travel sector was one of the most negatively impacted in 2020, Oregon – due to its urban proximity to a largely rural landscape – is one of the best-positioned states to see the benefits from the forecasted boom of adventure tourism. According to the WTTC Member Survey Pulse 1 Bulletin, adventure/nature-based/ecotourism increased in importance by 27% compared to pre-COVID-19 level for respondents when international travel resumes, the highest increase seen by any type of travel.
Russell Walters, ATTA’s Regional Director, North America offered, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring professionals and industry leaders from the Adventure Travel sector to Eugene. Travel Oregon has led a number of forward-thinking recreation and tourism initiatives over the past few years and our delegates will be keen to learn from and sample these programs and experiences firsthand.”
AdventureELEVATE is the ATTA’s annual North America-based intensive educational and networking conference that brings together the adventure travel community to share the insights, information and inspiration that shape our dynamic industry year-round. With keynote speakers, concurrent sessions on technology, marketing and operations specific to adventure, plus plenty of creative networking time, AdventureELEVATE will reconnect and reenergize delegates from across the adventure travel spectrum.
AdventureELEVATE registration is now open. In order to protect delegates, the community of Eugene, and the surrounding areas from COVID-19, ATTA requires that all AdventureELEVATE delegates be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to the event. Delegates will need to show proof of vaccination at the on-site check-in before receiving an event badge.