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Brazilian Adventure Tourism Association Matures, Contributes to Growth in Segment, Advances Professionalism in Sustainability & Safety

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ABETA aspires to bring together nature and adventure tourism companies, accomplish qualification, and establish new jobs and foreign capital.

ABETA (Brazilian Ecotourism and Adventure Travel Trade Association), which has grown to 282 members in 24 Brazilian states and 19 regional commissions and has established itself as one of the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) most active Association Partners, continues to advance efforts to strengthen the potential of Brazil for adventure activities. What started in July 2003 as simply an idea spread through the Internet to bring together businesses with similar interests in adventure tourism, now represents a dynamic network of entrepreneurs who are focused on the segment growth in the Brazil, as well as sustainable tourism and safety/security initiatives.

Today, ABETA has earned representation countrywide, with regional commissions located in the Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Goiás, Ceará, Chapada Diamantina, Lençóis Maranhenses, Alagoas, Fernando de Noronha, Manaus, Roraima, Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Socorro, Acre and Mato Grosso. ABETA continues to drive to extend its base of associates and to stimulate more responsible and security adventure activities throughout Brazil.

In 2003, the association’s founding group started the Normalization’s Project of Adventure Tourism, the initiative based in technician support aiming ABETA’s qualification. Then, in August 2004, the association was legalized during the Adventure Sports Fair, in São Paulo, which at the time, was the biggest event of ecotourism and adventure travel trade professionals of Latin America.

Since its start, the variety of companies and the national destinations affiliated with ABETA now more accurately reflects the current challenges the association faces to truly represents all entrepreneurs within the segment. To achieve excellence in adventure tourism, to grow the market, and to reach international status as a unique adventure tourism destination, ABETA has committed to the main goals of qualification and certification of adventure tourism professionals, to implement the culture of the Management of the Security and of minimum impact in natural environments.

Its representation also has grown since its inception. Today, ABETA has gained representation as a:

• Member of the CNT – National Advisor of Tourism (since 2005)
• Member of the CONAMA – National Advisor of Environment (Conservation and Biodiversity Work Group)
• Member of the Brazilian Committee of Normalization in Tourism of ABNT (ABNT/CB54) – Secretariat of the subcommittee of Adventure Tourism
• Coordinator of the INMETRO (National Institute of Metrology, Normalization and Industrial Quality) Adventure Tourism Work Group
• Member of the Thematic Chamber of Biodiversity and Unit of Conservation of the COPAM/MG – State Advice of Ambient Politics
• Member of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Advisory Board (The ATTA’s only Latin American Advisory Board Member)
• Association Partner (one of 25 worldwide) of the Adventure Travel Trade Association

ABETA’s public representation includes:

• Ministry of Tourism
• EMBRATUR – Brazilian Tourist Board
• National SEBRAE – Brazilian Service that supports small companies
• Ministry of Natural Environment
• ICMBIO – Institute Chico Mendes of Biodiversity Conservation
• INMETRO – National Institute of Metrology, Normalization and Industrial Quality
• ABNT – Brazilian Technical Standards Association

With its maturation, ABETA has been able to maintain its key aims: to increase the benefits for its members, to develop its various commercial and institutional partnerships, to equipment and services purchase discounts in the adventure area. Specific examples of gear and service discount successes include partnerships with: Deuter, Kampa Equipment, Snake, Adventure & Action Magazine, Truzz, Ecotrip insurance, Ecoviagem vestibule, Webventure vestibule,By Adventure, Caiaker, Echo Interação and Tecnosol Solar Plates.

To focus on the international market, ABETA has the International Promotion and Commercialization Program – PPCI, which now includes 35 members. The aim of the program is to build promotional activities to increase and to support the commercialization of Ecotourism and Adventure travel products around the international market through the agreement signed with the Brazilian Tourist Board (EMBRATUR).

The promotional activities, brought by means of commercial missions, have as objectives the nee to deliver exposure of PPCI associates, but also to highlight Brazilian ecotourism destinations throughout the country to the international market. Between 2007 and March 2009, six commercial missions in eight countries were completed: England, Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden and Denmark), Germany, Norway, Equator, and the U.S.A. ABETA plans one more commercial mission that is set for the second semester of 2010, in Canada.

In 2008, six Qualification Workshops were delivered by specialized consultant in six Brazilian capitals. The main objective of the Qualification Workshops were to teach nature and adventure travel operators how to deal with the international market.

ABETA also is responsible for the organization of the ABETA SUMMIT 2009, an international event designed to build relationships within the nature and adventure market. The Summit event presents technical congress on lectures that bring innovations and information for the segment in Brazil and to help the international market to develop business with Brazilian companies, including 100 international operators, which before the event, will making FAM trips for one of the 14 main ecotourism and adventure travel destinations in Brazil.

ABETA was a partner to a similar event in September 2008 in partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association, which delivers the annual Adventure Travel World Summit, the largest conference that brings together the global adventure travel community. For the ATTA’s 2008 Adventure Travel World Summit in São Paulo, business leaders representing 33 countries participated in lectures, debates, meetings, adventures and social events.

ABETA’s three most pressing initiatives currently include:

Sustainable Tourism
The Social and Environment Coordination (Sustainability) of the ABETA has the goal to offer to its entrepreneurial members ways to stimulate sustainable tourism responsibility, providing education and training on subjects of this nature. Its intention is to create specific information on the subject, as well as spreading practical guidance to that businesses may put to practice. Its outreach efforts for Sustainable Tourism (and for its Safe Adventure Program) aim to establish and increase ethical behaviors in the companies.

Safe Adventure Program
The Safe Adventure Program was designed by ABETA in partnership with the Ministry of the Tourism and the National SEBRAE. The Program works to strengthen, qualify and certify businesses in 16 Brazilian adventure destinations. The initiative has already been introduced in more than 100 cities and more than 4,000 professionals have participated in the workshops, courses and seminaries. Today, 172 organizations (170 companies and 2 Conservation Units) take part in the process to implement the Security System in its operations.

Each destination receives 15 local interventions and each is responsible for: technical seminars, courses of qualification for entrepreneurs and operational managers and coordinators, promoting ABETA, creating and implementing a voluntary group of search and rescue teams, give qualification and assistance to the companies during the implementation of the Brazilian norm NBR – Tourism of Adventure System of Management of the 15331 Security. Each destination also is required to provide subsidies to the evaluation of the standards for the certification of the companies and operational managers and coordinators.

Campaign of Conscious Consumption
The Campaign of Conscious Consumption is spreading of the best practices concerning consumption activities to ecotourism and adventure travel companies of Brazil. The program’s objective also is to ensure the practices and educational materials also reaches the public, which will be accomplished through the press, operators, travel agencies, guides and conductors before finally reaching the consumer and affecting their consumption behaviors. The Campaign counts on support of the Braztoa (Brazilian Association of the Operators of Tourism) and of the ABAV (Brazilian Travel Agencies Association), beyond partnership with the Adventure Sports Fair and Adventure Camp Magazine, Adventure & Action, Go Outside, Host, O2 and VO2, Go Outside, Host, O2 e VO2, Editora Trip, Portal Webventure e Kuau Brasil.

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