The sellout of the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s North American in-person gathering after a two-year hiatus signals the demand for adventure travel in the industry’s recovery.
Under a month away from the opening keynote, the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s AdventureELEVATE 2021, set to take place in Sedona, Arizona, 16 – 18 November 2021, has completely sold out. Hosted by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, this year’s AdventureELEVATE, will host an estimated 250 delegates from around the globe, as U.S. international travel restrictions have eased in recent weeks. By selling out ATTA’s first signature in-person event since the pandemic began almost two years ago, it’s clear that the desire and demand for travel, specifically adventure tourism, is strong and the readiness for business to begin again is here.
Referencing a theme of Revive, 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, once again, with a community of fellow travelers, tour operators, journalists, destination representatives, travel specialists, lodging professionals, and adventure travel innovators.
The AdventureELEVATE experience begins with a Day of Adventure offering delegates the chance to explore Sedona’s adventurous side. Hosted by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, working side-by-side with REI Experiences and its local partners, the Day of Adventure includes curated guided experiences including scenic touring, hiking and road biking adventures the region offers, along with options for mountain bike rentals and route planning support. Notable offerings taking place this year include wine tasting experiences, classic Sedona jeep tours exploring Soldiers Pass Trail, guided motorcycle tours cruising the quintessential Arizona highways, and scenic cycling tours around Sedona’s famous Red Rocks.
With sustainability a core pillar of ATTA’s vision, workshops and content will focus on rebuilding adventure tourism in a responsible, ethical, and action-driven way, with an eye for innovation. Notably, in the opening keynote, Chef and Indigenous food activist Nephi Craig will share his perspective on the elements of cross-cultural shared values, ethics, health, and connect his work of restoring indigenous foodways to rebuilding healthy communities and ecosystems for tourism, both locally and globally. With Switzerland Tourism’s support (ATTA’s Global Exclusive Sustainability Destination Partner) ATTA will measure and compensate for event emissions through our carbon offsetting bulk purchase program through which participants can help fund forestry projects, Neutral Together, and carbon removal via direct air capture with permanent storage through Tomorrow’s Air.
The event’s two-day itinerary will also include networking opportunities such as AdventureExchange, MediaConnect, and Disruptive Networking Adventure (D.N.A.) Happy Hour. A 90-minute session, MediaConnect gives delegates the opportunity to meet one-on-one with ELEVATE’s official media delegates working in traditional media — an impressive group of travel journalists specializing in sustainable and adventure travel –and pitch story ideas related to their adventure travel business. AdventureExchange will invite industry professionals to connect with fellow delegates during this dedicated session in a series of pre-scheduled, one-on-one meetings or impromptu casual meetings. D.N.A. Happy Hour is an opportunity over drinks to make new business connections, giving delegates the opportunity to share what is unique about their business with tour operators, travel media, destination representatives, travel advisors, and service providers from across the community.
Casey Hanisko, ATTA President shared, “Getting together in person, as a community, is monumental as an adventure travel trade community. The industry has been devastated by this pandemic and in Sedona – we will gather together with the opportunity to re-group, to Revive, and to connect with others knowing a path forward is before us.”
As pent-up demand for travel continues to grow, adventure travel is predicted to be at the forefront leading bravely, thanks to an inherently sustainably-conscious model of smaller groups, self-guided itineraries, and outdoor remote settings. According to a WTTC member survey released in March 2021, adventure/nature-based/ecotourism increased in importance by 27% compared to the pre-COVID-19 level for respondents when international travel resumes, the highest increase seen by any type of travel. This optimism is seen on the supply side as well; 70% of respondents to ATTA’s 2021 Adventure Travel Industry Snapshot survey are seeing an improvement in domestic travel demand for 2021 and into 2022, and 64% of respondents are seeing an improvement in international travel demand for 2021 and into 2022.
In order to protect delegates and the community of Sedona, Arizona 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.