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Benchmark 2006 Adventure Travel Practices and Trends Report Unveiled

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SEATTLE – According to the first annual 2006 Adventure Travel Industry Survey, Practices and Trends, released today by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA): women comprise the majority of adventure travelers worldwide; South America ranks highest in terms of increasing destination interest among consumers; and 50 percent of tour operators who don’t currently use travel agents to sell their product plan to do so in the future.

Gender, travelers’ destination preferences, and sales channel data represent just a few valuable data points revealed in the 50+ page, first-of-its-kind survey.  Customer profile information, common practices in marketing, staffing, sales, certifications, risk management training, sustainable practices, and related information considered valuable in developing effective operations also are contained in the benchmark results.

ATTA’s Practices and Trends is specifically designed to contain information from and for tour operators and adventure travel accommodations worldwide. This report was built with fourth quarter 2006 data from more than 220 companies representing 35 countries and more than 3.6 million customer ‘user days’ (meaning how many days the customers are booked for a tourist experience with the operator/lodge).

ATTA’s annual trade survey is expected to serve as the standard in reporting on the state of the adventure travel industry, and is designed to capture emerging trends and trade indicators. Excerpts from the fourth-quarter 2006 Adventure Travel Industry Survey, Practices and Trends, for example, reveal such data as:

Customer Information:

  • Women comprise 52% of adventure travelers
  • 41-60 year olds comprise the highest participating age group
  • Highest year-to-year, increased consumer regional interest:  S. America


  • 46% of all companies offer sustainability program/s for customers
  • Average land cost for an adventure travel trip: $2,122
  • 83% of survey respondents realized revenue increases between 04 and 05
    • Of the 83% who reported increases, the average gross revenue increase was approximately 25% and profit increases averaged approximately 22%


  • Followed by word-of-mouth and repeat clients, Search Engine Optimization ranked the top (“extremely effective”) booking source
  • 35% of businesses do not allow customers to book online
  • 50% of those who don’t work with agents intend to in the future

Benchmark survey questions were crafted to capture data which lays the framework for year-to-year comparisons.  Baseline business matters addressed in the survey include such questions as: Who is the average adventure travel customer? What kind of revenues and profit does this industry realize? What changes in the consumer, changes in destination interests and threats to the industry do industry professionals see? Results are meant to aid adventure travel tour operators and accommodations to understand how they’re faring operationally compared to others worldwide, to help them to identify trends and shifts in consumer behaviors, and more.

In addition to appendices representing raw data from narrative survey responses, primary categories detailed in the ATTA’s Practices and Trends include answers to more than 70 questions addressing:

  • Operations
  • Customer Information
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Sales and Reservations
  • Certification, Training and Risk Management
  • Responsible/Sustainable Practices
  • Lodges/Resorts
  • Tour Operators

Survey results are available at no cost to ATTA Members and to those organizations who participated in the survey.  Non-members may purchase the report by contacting the ATTA at 1-866-411-3131 (U.S./Canada) or 1-360-805-3131 (outside the U.S.)

In the second half of 2007, the Adventure Travel Trade Association will conduct the 2007 Adventure Travel Industry Survey, Practices and Trends. Serving as the global hub for the adventure travel trade and a source for centralized knowledge to benefit its members, the ATTA continues to tackle initiatives that better the industry and grow it in a sustainable manner.

Established in 1990, the Seattle-based ATTA ( is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market worldwide.

Media Contact:
Chris Doyle
Director, Adventure Travel Trade Association
[email protected]

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