Costa Rican Reforestation Project to Mitigate Carbon Footprint of Adventure Travel World Summit in Alaska

23 August 2016

(SEATTLE) August 24, 2016 – The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA; and Visit Anchorage ( participated in a reforestation project in Costa Rica last week as part of their commitment to make the 2016 Adventure Travel World Summit in Anchorage, Alaska, carbon neutral.

Photo © ATTA / Hassen Salum

The total emissions for the 4-day Summit in September is estimated to be over 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide (the ATWS carbon footprint report was compiled by Synergy Enterprises). The estimation includes gas and electricity used at the convention center and hotels in Anchorage as well as flights for more than 800 delegates to come to Alaska from all over the world. Energy use from the multi-day Pre-Summit Adventures and Day of Adventure activities were also included in the total. The expenditure is equivalent to more than 4,000 barrels of oil or the amount of fuel burned by 357 cars in a year.

“When we were challenged last year in Chile to hold a carbon neutral event, it was easy to say ‘yes’,” said ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “What hasn’t been easy is understanding exactly what that commitment means and how to make it happen.”

Scientists from EARTH University’s carbon neutral unit calculated how many trees would be needed to sequester 1,200 tons of carbon. Trees capture carbon dioxide through their leaves and carbon is then stored in the branches, trunks and roots of the organism and eventually becomes part of the soil. It will take 5,000 trees 12 - 14 years to capture enough carbon to neutralize the 2016 Adventure Travel World Summit.

Photo 19-08-16 11 05 40
Photo © ATTA / Hassen Salum

“This is a good example of how two countries can work together and will show other cities having conferences that they can do things to take care of the environment,” said Rafael Gallo, owner of Rios Tropicales, who organized the tree planting. “By spearheading this project in Costa Rica, the ATTA and Visit Anchorage are showing the whole adventure travel industry how to be carbon neutral.”

More than 250 volunteers were organized by the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves, including more than 100 local schoolchildren, to plant the trees on August 19, 2016, in a private reserve owned by Rafael Gallo, who is also the president of the Network of Private Nature Reserves. Ten kinds of native hardwoods were chosen for the forest -- some for their quick growth and carbon sequestration, some for their role in soil stabilization. The majority of the trees -- some 3,000 -- are mountain almond and will eventually provide food for the endangered green macaw.

Representatives from the Adventure Travel Trade Association, Visit Anchorage, Rios Tropicales and Essential Costa Rica participated in the tree planting event.

“The Costa Rican people’s passion for conservation and their belief in saving the natural world by their own individual example humbled me and gave me hope,” said David Kasser, Visit Anchorage VP of Tourism Development & Sales.

In addition to the carbon mitigation project, Visit Anchorage has arranged for the conference to be “shuttle-free” with all hotels located within walking distance of the venue and free bikes to use during conference sessions. The ATTA’s carbon neutral partners are Visit Anchorage, Alaska Airlines and Essential Costa Rica.

About Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves over 1,100 members in 90 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism.

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