COVID-19 and the Global Adventure Travel Industry

3 March 2020

With the help of the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s (ATTA) global members, the ATTA is actively monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and are conscious of the industry’s concerns. It is a fast-evolving situation and we, like our members, are working hard to capture up-to-date information. While short term impacts are devastating for many, it is too early to speculate on the potential long-term impacts. The ATTA remains committed to working with our members and the industry to support the dissemination of information from trusted sources, so that proper steps may be taken to assist with travel bans and travelers’ concerns.

Please join the ATTA community and Visit Peru for our first-ever virtual AdventureConnect. On Thursday 05 March 2020, we will join together by video conference to gain new perspectives on safety and risk management, including the COVID-19 virus, and to share your opinions and experiences related to this important topic. We invite you to join us. Register Now

Following the UNWTO’s lead, the ATTA encourages its members to respond to COVID-19 in a measured and consistent way, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies, and travelers. International collaboration and cooperation are needed to ensure pandemic panic does not paralyze the tourism industry which is so important to the global economy.

As always, the ATTA recommends members follow the directions of their local health authorities and the World Health Organization, which is publishing regular updates on international travel and health. The ATTA agrees with the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) that closing borders, blanket travel bans, and more extreme government policies will not stop the spread of coronavirus.

The ATTA is asking its members and the industry at large to treat all travelers and visitors with respect and kindness during this difficult time. Our tourism industry colleagues in affected countries, as well as industry members in markets which rely on travelers from affected markets, will need our support as they deal with the uncertainty, cancellations, and loss of business.

Recommendations for travelers

  • Check your health insurance to see if you are covered when abroad in case the situation arises that you need medical care
  • Monitor the World Health Organization’s site and your own country’s precautions
  • Check your itinerary to see if any border closures have been put in place
  • Bring extra medication in case you are delayed returning home due to quarantines or border closures
  • Follow the recommended health safety recommendations regarding handwashing and wipe surfaces while traveling as an extra precaution
  • If you want or need to cancel your plans, check your traveler’s insurance to see if it covers your reason for cancellation

Recommendations for travel businesses

  • Consider your cancellation policy carefully and decide whether it will benefit your long-term relationship with your travelers to offer refunds or credits or no cancellation penalties to encourage future bookings
  • Monitor countries on your itineraries to understand if border closures or traveler bans may create problems for your travelers when returning home
  • Consider if it is best to cancel your trip to protect your traveler’s health and ensure a good experience
  • Offer any support needed regarding hotel, air, and transportation cancellations
  • Communicate regularly to your clients and guests
The ATTA is working with senior advisors to identify strategies which support recovery and resiliency:
  • Advising DMO members to research new source markets
  • Working closely with hotel, airlines, and receptive and international tour operators to develop attractive packages to stimulate travel from these source markets and target customers
  • Making incremental investments in marketing these packages now, starting with short-haul and regional markets and then focus on tried and true longer-haul and international markets.
  • First-mover advantage is critical here – destinations that can move fast to switch focus stand the best chance of riding out the crisis.

What are we hearing from the industry?

Join us for our virtual and first-ever global AdventureConnect to learn more directly from tour operators and destinations around the globe. In the meantime we know that travelers are concerned and cancellations for travel to Asia and Italy are high, while some businesses’ bookings remain consistent or even better than normal, especially for the future as travelers delay their plans.

Share your perspective in the comments form below or if you are an ATTA member learn more about submitting a Voices From The Field post, article, or video. ATTA will review submissions and strive to share the news with your adventure community.