After a challenging year 2020 where every destination had to ‘reinvent itself’ with smart and creative approaches to stay relevant, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) recently presented an innovative and interactive AdventureEDU training, delivered 2 & 4 March 2021 in the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in partnership with Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme.
In the current climate and the quickly transforming Adventure Tourism landscape, it is more critical than ever for tourism providers to stay up-to-date with offerings adapted to ensure a speedy recovery. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme in France, a region that relies on outdoor tourism all year around, understands this well, and ATTA was proud to collaborate with them on two full-day AdventureEDU sessions about Product Development and Adaptation for Tomorrow's Tourism. A great selection of local service providers participated in the interactive training, exchanged ideas, and through a series of activities and exercises developed their own new experiences in the region that for sure will make all of us want to go and experience first-hand.
This was ATTA’s first entirely virtual, very interactive AdventureEDU full-day training since the restrictions wouldn’t allow us to run it as an in-person event.
This format allowed us more flexibility as we alternated content modules with group workshops all day long, keeping a great dynamic and encouraging strong interaction every step of the way. The goal was to help prepare the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region to develop and deliver unique Adventure Travel experiences in line with the most current market trends—focusing on spending time in nature, leaving positive local impact, strengthening the health and safety processes while taking into consideration the unlimited nature and outdoor experiences that the region has to offer.
As trainer Jean-Claude Razel commented, “In product development, always reflect on the positive local impact economically, socially and environmentally and make sure to be transparent on these aspects.”
In every destination AdventureEDU teams visit or collaborate with, they also learn a lot from the experiences of local adventure travel professionals. This was a great opportunity to check in with the industry and discuss tourism's new realities.
The AdventureEDU team at the training included Jean-Claude Razel, ATTA Senior Educator & Founder of Alaya Expedicoes, adventure local operator in Brazil, Céline Fortin, ATTA Regional Manager Europe & Educator and Tereza Georgieva, ATTA Partner Manager, Europe & MENA.
Over the course of the training, more than 60 professionals from the region were interacting in small groups, discussing the latest travel trends and designing new local experiences following a layered approach: identifying the client’s persona, key assets and product differentiation, local positive impact, risk management, profitability, etc. It included content that met the needs of a forward-thinking community of adventure tourism operators and destinations, tailored to the specificities of the region.
During the module on Assets and Differentiation, Céline talked about the importance of storytelling: “As you build your itinerary, remember the flow is very important, this is when storytelling can make a difference, building the experience around a unique theme.”
During the day we also reflected on managing expectations and Jean-Claude Razel commented, “Underselling and over delivering is the best recipe for success!” and also that “We don't get a second chance to give a good 1st impression”, talking from experience as he has run for the last 30 years his own adventure local operator in Brazil operating canyoning, rafting, mountain climbing, and horse riding.
Some feedback from the audience:
“The rotation between plenary sessions and workshops made the day very dynamic and the information we received very tangible.”
“It was a very interesting training, especially thanks to the practical knowledge of the speakers. The day allowed us to lay the foundations for the creation of an adventure experience. Some content was intended more for guides than agencies, but bringing the two players together made it possible to understand each other's point of view and above all to exchange views.”
“Jean Claude was very dynamic and very fluid, you could see that he spoke with his experience.”
“It was a very interesting training, with crazy logistics in the background and all very productive, so hats off!”This collaboration with Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes tourism is targeting summer vacations, when the region should be ready with a great new portfolio of unique experiences in line with the demand and expectations from the adventure travel market as the region welcomes the domestic market and gets ready for the international market.
The next step for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region will be to focus on commercialisation and distribution, building more awareness on the region and its lesser-known local gems through various marketing activities designed to increase exposure and create market activation.
AdventureEDU is the hands-on learning program of the Adventure Travel Trade Association / Adventure 360. The program portfolio includes a wide range of enabling solutions that align with the needs of adventure travel professionals from destinations in their early stages of growth to destinations that are leading in the global marketplace.
AdventureEDU programs are designed to advance the market preparedness of destinations, companies and entrepreneurs seeking positioning in the global adventure travel industry. The focus is placed entirely on the actions, solutions and tools that are relevant to the participants’ daily professional realities in the particular local context. The programs are offered in different formats: short webinars/meet the experts, online self paced courses, virtual programs tailored to destinations or specific audiences.