Jordan hosted the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) inaugural AdventureNEXT Near East event in May 2017. In the ten months since, tour operators have created a wealth of new itineraries or expanded offerings in the region, destination partners report a positive return on investment, and professional relationships forged in 2017 have developed into profitable partnerships, benefiting local businesses and allowing travelers to experience a wider scope of adventure activities in the country. As the clock ticks down to the second AdventureNEXT Near East, being held 7-9 May 2018 in Jordan, it’s worth taking a closer look at how the 2017 regional event unfolded and what attending delegates did to maximize their time and efforts, not only reaffirming the value of attending the event but the ongoing positive financial and professional impacts it has had.
AdventureNEXT Near East 2017 began when international tour operators, destination partners, media, and other industry professionals arrived in Jordan several days prior to the official event for multi-day Pre-Adventures and Day of Adventure activities. Though some had traveled in the country before, these pre-event excursions disrupted the typical Jordanian narrative, introducing new ways to appreciate the country and allowing delegates to sample adventure products offered in the region.
“AdventureNEXT is a golden opportunity for Jordan to market ecotourism, nature-based tourism, and adventure tourism,” said Yehya Kahled of Wild Jordan Adventures. This is partly due to the fact delegates experienced what the area had to offer for themselves. Pre-Adventures and Day of Adventure activities also provided delegates with a relaxed environment in which to get to know one another — a subtle yet powerful way to catapult professional relationships that were further developed in the following days.
Fresh from these invigorating and eye-opening adventures, delegates continued to develop and solidify terms for professional connections during scheduled one-on-one AdventureNEXT Marketplace meetings, over cocktail hours and hosted lunches, and in passing conversations throughout the course of the event. This was a deliberate design decision made by the ATTA, which has had reverberating effects in the months since the May 2017 AdventureNEXT Near East. In fact, 78 percent of 2017 attending buyers report that AdventureNEXT Near East resulted in new partnerships with companies in the Near East region.
“The AdventureNEXT series of events offer a strategic focus on the adventurous side of regions around the globe, and reveal to attending international operators and media the compelling value proposition the region has to offer,” said Casey Hanisko, president of Adventure 360 of the ATTA. “This is tangibly conveyed on multi-day adventure itineraries, followed by business-to-business meetings during Marketplace that help establish long-term, symbiotic partnerships.”
These long-term partnerships include a number of notable results that have opened the area up to further exploration by travelers:
- Bamba Experience added ten new programs in Jordan ranging from four to 10 days in length.
- Intrepid is now including the Jordan Trail in two new Jordan stand-alone trips and is offering more adventurous experiences in its current Jordan programs.
- Cross Country/Top Deck is offering three new itineraries in the region.
- HF Holidays created a new 10-day Jordan program.
- Imaginative Traveller created a number of new Jordan programs including ones focused on Petra and Wadi Rum.
- KE Adventure Travel now offers several new programs that include trekking and hiking through the south of Jordan.
- Mountain Travel Sobek offers a brand-new 12-day Jordan program
- TCS World Travel now includes three days in Jordan in its worldwide trip.
- The Clymb has improved its eight-day tour of Jordan.
- Tripsite.com included a new bike tour in Jordan for its 2018-2019 season.
- Uncover the World has enhanced its existing Jordan products and will be developing an all-new Jordan program for 2018.
The ATTA plans to amplify opportunities for partnership in 2018. Dozens of buyers from Europe and the Americas are registered and ready to immerse themselves in Pre-Adventures and Day of Adventure activities in Jordan and neighboring countries during hosted adventures. Building upon last year’s Marketplace, there will be twice as many pre-scheduled Marketplace meetings in 2018. Several organizations from throughout the Near East region are already registered to take part in Marketplace, including:
- Abercrombie & Kent Jordan (Jordan)
- Engaging Cultures Travel (Jordan)
- Experience Jordan (Jordan)
- Iran Doostan Tours (Iran)
- Jordan Tourism Board (Jordan)
- Lebanon Mountain Trail Association (Lebanon)
- Ras Al Khaima Tourism Board (United Arab Emirates)
- Siraj Center (Palestine)
- Uncover the World Travel (Jordan)
- United Travel Agency (Jordan)
Tour operators operating in the Middle East and North Africa who are interested in participating in AdventureNEXT Near East Marketplace meetings are encouraged to purchase tickets and register as soon as possible to maximize visibility and ability for attending buyers and media to request meetings.