See ATTA's COVID-19 Guide for the Adventure Travel Industry

Cuba, Portugal, and Albania Added to Top Adventure Travel Destinations

3 Minute Read

Adventure Travel Trends Revealed in 2017 Study

(SEATTLE) March 14, 2017 – The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA; is releasing findings this week from its 2017 Industry Snapshot, a comprehensive look at the adventure travel industry through the eyes of adventure travel tour operators. The ATTA has been involved in original and collaborative research for more than a decade as part of its mission of educating and professionalizing the adventure travel industry. Since 2006, the ATTA has invited companies to share anonymous information about their businesses from the previous year.


The 2017 Industry Snapshot focuses on trends including information about destinations, activities, and industry business practices. Mid-year, a second Snapshot will be released with an emphasis on the financial perspective on the industry. The Snapshot is offered for free to ATTA members and can be purchased and downloaded by anyone in the travel community.

Example key findings in this year’s report include:

Tours, Activities, and Destinations:

  • The most in-demand adventure activities mentioned were ecotourism, cultural, environmentally sustainable, hiking, and culinary. Also popular for specific regions were cycling and safari activities.
  • Adventure tour operators say destinations receiving interest from adventure travelers are Scandinavia, South America, Southern Africa, and the Mediterranean.
  • Trip types receiving more interest from clients included “shorter duration” and “long haul/overseas” trips, along with “custom itineraries” and “family/multi-generational” trips.

Favored Destinations from the Top Adventure Traveler Source Markets:

North America and Europe continue to lead as the primary source markets for adventure travelers. For North Americans, the United States, Peru, Ecuador, and Canada have been in the top five the past two years. In 2017, however, Cuba made the top five, displacing Italy, a top five destination since 2014.

For Europeans, Italy, Spain, and France receive the most bookings year after year. A surprise for 2017, however, is the appearance a new country among the top five destinations for Europeans: Albania. The spark of interest in Albania is noteworthy, as a spotlight has been on the region since 2014 with AdventureWeek Western Balkans, Balkans-focused AdventureEDU trainings, and the recent AdventureNEXT Balkans industry event.

Destination Benefit:

Tour operators estimate 67 percent of the per guest trip cost remains in the local region, and this is up two percent from 2016. However, they also estimate customers traveling with adventure travel companies spend approximately $142 USD per trip on local handicrafts or souvenirs. This is down three dollars from 2016.

Customer Profile:

  • Couples are the most prevalent group type, making up 37 percent of clients. Eighteen percent of clients are solo travelers, and 19 percent are families. Groups make up 26 percent of guests. Families were up three percent over last year and solo travelers were up one percent.
  • Clients are slightly more likely to be women – 51 percent of clients – than men. This has gone down 2 percent since 2016, when tour operators reported 53 percent women clients.
  • In terms of adventure traveler demographics, the largest group of adventure travel tour operator clients (40 percent) are between the ages of 50-70. The average age of the adventure traveler reported is 47 years old.

The report also reveals details about increased trip prices and average trip price per region as well as feedback on online booking trends and tour operators’ average audiences per marketing channel.

The ATTA Industry Snapshot offers those working in adventure travel with a useful benchmarking tool, and those outside the industry with perspective on the health, outlook, and characteristics of this dynamic industry.

About Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves over 1,000 members in 100 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 and AdventureNEXT events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit and AdventureELEVATE 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.

For more information:

1 Comment to Cuba, Portugal, and Albania Added to Top Adventure Travel Destinations

  1. Some fact checking and backgrounds, may I?
    Albania to be listed now in the 2017 snapshot is not so surprising at all ;=), because the work in the Balkans did not start 2014!

    The fact that the whole region – mainly the former Yugoslavia and Albania – is more and more gaining momentum, would be thanks to the public and private investments and continuous efforts in adventure travel. These started longer than 10 years ago: Slovenia and Montenegro were the first ones to include responsible and adventure travel in their strategic destination development and master planning, with large stakeholder involvement.

    Afterwards, they have been internationally recognised, e.g. the „Wilderness Hiking & Biking“ project of Montenegro (2011) .

    The latest one is for Slovenia, thanks to the strong „green destination“ policies:

    Also cross-border adventure products such as the “Peaks of the Balkans” and “Via Dinarica” have been on the map for a while, awarded by WTTC (2013)
    and many times described in the media – one of my favourite articles is by Tim Neville – describing a pilot tour to the Albanian Alps 2013, enjoy:

    Here the latest about the “Via Dinarica” – !

    Several “50 Tours of a Lifetime” (by National Geographic), “Best in Travel” and “Blue List” recommendations (by Lonely Planet) have underlined the potentials of the Balkans – and these we have been seeing since 2008:

    Not only summer, also winter time is something speacial here, like beautifully described in the latest article about backcountry skiing in Montenegro (German, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, March 2017) – and to no surprise, here ATTA members are in the lead, too:

    Last not least, from the viewpoint of „Restorative Tourism“ it was logical to include „The Return of The Balkans“ as a featured topic on the Adventure Travel World Summit stage in Namibia – this was back in 2013,

    „Peace works better than conflict“ – the way to go also in future. The more responsible, adventure minded travellers we can win for the whole region, the better for each and every country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *