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During the Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland last year the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA; www.adventuretravel.biz) and the Ministry of Tourism in Ecuador announced that the country would host its first AdventureWeek with the objective of raising awareness of the true potential of Ecuador as an adventure destination. On June 14 this year, 20 selected participants embarked on a 10-day familiarization trip that showed them the true Ecuador: unique immersive cultural experiences, world-class eco lodges, and beautiful national parks and reserves.
Between Quito’s “Old Town” (a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978) to the waters of the Amazon and the Andes highlands, the participants had the opportunity to explore many of Ecuador’s off- the-beaten-path destinations. The journey started with a visit to Pifo’s famous rose plantations, followed by an evening of wellness at the Termas de Papallacta to prepare the participants for all the activity ahead: whitewater rafting on the Napo River, hiking through the Amazonian rainforest, visiting local communities, walking along the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, horseback riding through Cotopaxi National Park, riding the historic Volcanoes Train through the Andes, watching birds in the cloud forest and visiting the archeological site of the Sacred Valley of Tulipe. In between all this activity, the group stayed at award-winning Mashpi Lodge, the beautiful haciendas El Provenir and Cotopaxi Pungo, and the must-visit La Casa del Suizo while enjoying Ecuadorian cuisine.For freelance writer Sarah Staples this was a one-of-a-kind experience. “This was my first true ‘soft adventure’ trip, and it really opened my eyes,” she said. “No more safe, staid family trips for me; I’d love to expose my children to the kind of adventures that we had on this trip. The incredible hospitality of the Ecuadorians who travelled with us, the variety of activities – I was so thankful for all of it, and very impressed, far more than I ever expected to be.”
Back in Quito at the end of the trip, AdventureWeek participants had the opportunity to sit down for one-on-one pre-scheduled meetings with 25 local suppliers during MARKETPLACE — the business highlight of AdventureWeek.
“The itinerary offered a variety of accommodation options ranging from 3 to 5 star, plus activities in each region that I can offer to my clients and prospects,” said Arleta Cosby, a travel consultant. “In addition, meeting with local suppliers at the Marketplace was also very helpful and this networking event allows the initializing of discussions for partnerships for future business dealings.”
In a post-trip survey conducted by the ATTA, 91% of the participants left AW Ecuador with a more favorable perception of Ecuador’s adventure travel offerings and 14 out of the 16 attending international buyers said they found at least three possible partners during MARKETPLACE and planned to follow up immediately. Ninety percent of attendees are interested in exploring possible cooperative marketing opportunities to introduce these off the beaten destinations to their clients. Ecuador has great potential as an adventure destination and AdventureWeek surely helped to spotlight the activities and opportunities that make it unique and appealing to adventure travelers.
The ATTA partners with destinations to offer AdventureWeek, a fully-hosted intensive familiarization (FAM) trip designed to feature the best adventure travel products offered in that country. In addition to experiencing adventure travel in the destination, AdventureWeek participants — outbound tour operators, specialized travel agents and international travel media — meet with local operators and ground suppliers in a marketplace.
About Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves over 1,000 members in 80 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism.
For more information:
- Adventure Travel World Summit
- Adventure.Travel – consumer portal to member tours
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