(SEATTLE) — At the 9th Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) October 8-11, 2012, in Lucerne, Switzerland, presented by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and sponsored by Switzerland Tourism and Lucerne Tourism, Dr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Rob Torres, Managing Director of Travel at Google, Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Yves-Jacques Cousteau and co-founder of Blue Legacy, Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International, the global conservation organization, and Darrell Wade, CEO of PEAK Adventure Travel, will headline before more than 600 industry executives representing more than 50 nations.
Keynote speakers will support the ATTA’s recurring, “Prosper with Purpose” Summit theme, addressing topics regarding pressing issues of the tourism industry today, including the interplay between conservation and the business of tourism, to consumer behavior, mobile technology and the Web.
In his first appearance at an ATWS, the UNWTO Secretary General will serve as the opener to the Summit sessions on Tuesday, October 9. Prior to his role at the UNWTO, Dr. Rifai served in several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan as Minister of Tourism and Antiquities; Minister of Information; and, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation. During his term as Minister of Tourism and Antiquity, Dr. Rifai established Jordan’s first Archaeological Park in the ancient city of Petra in collaboration with UNESCO and the World Bank. He also realized several grand projects in Jerash, the Dead Sea and Wadi Rum.
With over 20 years of travel industry experience, Rob Torres serves as Google’s Managing Director of advertising and marketing for the North American Travel sector. In this role, Rob oversees the strategy development and profitable growth of integrated and innovative advertising campaigns. His group serves some of the largest Web and brick-and-mortar travel brands in the U.S. Prior to joining Google, Rob was Vice President of Strategic Hotel Partnerships at Expedia.com.
The co-founder of Blue Legacy, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Alexandra Cousteau founded in 2008 to leverage new and emerging technologies to connect mainstream audiences with their local watersheds and their water planet, she is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and part of one of the world’s most famous environmental dynasties.
A conservationist for the last three decades, Jim Leape was appointed in 2005 to serve as Director General of WWF International and leader of the global WWF Network, which works in more than 100 countries and has an annual income of EUR 525 million. Leape first joined WWF in the U.S. in 1989, and for 10 years led their conservation programs around the world, serving as Executive Vice President. In that role, he helped shape the global strategy of the WWF Network.
Darrell Wade co-founded Intrepid Travel, a company that has become a major, multi-national company taking almost 100,000 passengers to over 100 destinations each and every year. In April 2011, Wade formed a strategic venture with TUI to establish PEAK Adventure Travel, which now takes over 350,000 clients every year from 50 different source markets and operates adventure holidays in over 100 different countries, with several thousand different itineraries, covering a multitude of styles and market segments. PEAK’s $400 million annual turnover and more than 2,000 employees makes it the world’s largest adventure travel company.
Entering its eighth year, the ATTA’s Summit conferences engage and energize the leaders of the adventure travel community with networking, business and professional development programs, educational seminars and emerging adventure destination product review opportunities. In addition to the keynotes, a cadre of experts covering core business disciplines of the adventure tourism industry will deliver two key content tracks over the course of three days, one designed primarily for adventure tour operators and the other primarily for tourism boards.
Registration is now open at http://www.adventuretravel.biz/atws2012.