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COVID-19 and the Global Adventure Travel Industry

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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.

Voices From The Field – ATTA is providing this space for the benefit of our members for building awareness within our community. The views and opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily ATTA’s, nor do we endorse them by their publication.

16 Comments to COVID-19 and the Global Adventure Travel Industry

  1. Thank you Casey and ATTA, it is good to know you are thinking about all of us at this time. There are so many uncertainties at this time, it is nice to be reminded that we have a community such as the ATTA to give us some perspective and reassurance.

  2. We are based in Bangkok, and the majority of our experiences are in regions which have been negatively perceived, either through simply being in Asia, or through the media frenzy around relatively few cases in our countries. Bookings have turned down by 30-40%, and this rate seems to be increasing. Cancellations are currently at 10%, but this will continue as we move into the next phase of the spread and awareness.

    At the moment, the greater fear amongst our well informed and adventurers is of being quarantined, or not allowed into the countries they are planning to visit.

    Thus far, we have concentrated on sending out accurate information, letting people know about flight routing to avoid. Also sending regular situation updates, to counter the huge amount of fake news and misconceptions. We are trying to reschedule or redirect travellers, but in some cases cancellation fees have to be applied. Most travellers have insurance, although not all companies are paying out.

    As the virus enters a new phase spreading outside China (albeit in low numbers relative to populations) we fear that it will be our clients who end up locked down, and unwilling or unable to travel for some time to come.

    Of course, we predict a bounce back, as there always is, but for many companies the battle now is simply for survival.

  3. I’m grateful for your leadership during this challenging time, Casey, Shannon and everyone with the ATTA! It can be challenging to know how to proceed, so it’s nice to feel this support and clarity.

  4. In addition to checking whether your health insurance covers you outside of your home country (or state), one might consider purchasing a supplement telemedicine assisstance and evacuation plan. If permitted by the governing authorities, some can also transport members who are infectious on a fee for service basis using specialty isolation-equipped aircraft.

  5. Is it possible to view the virtual AdventureConnect after the fact? We missed the live feed this morning but would still love to watch it and get those updates.

  6. Hi Matt – Yes, we will post the recording next week as well as a resource document for the adventure travel community related to the COVID–19 virus. Casey

  7. I am so sorry to hear this news. I do hope that travel recovers quickly. We are working on some resources to support adventure travel businesses.

  8. Thank you for your article. We, all travel and adventure professional have to fight against COVID-19 by raising awareness. The current tourism market in Nepal is devasted, the Visit Nepal-20 was revoked.

  9. I really hope the covid-19 virus gets sorted out soon, as I believe it has already affected economy of various countries.

  10. Most of American embassies have closed the embassy until further notice, which now hinders some of us who seek visa to attend ATTA event in Oregon. kindly advise

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