Many around the world were stunned by the US Presidential Election outcome this past week and specifically here in the US there were a lot of fears and angst communicated around President-Elect Trump’s views on immigration, foreign policy, etc. In addition, it has to be stated, it was clear that there was a vacuum of respect and care for women, minorities, Muslims, the poor, people with disabilities and just about anyone else that crosses his path. Not to mention the monumental disdain for environmental issues.
At the ATTA, I found myself wondering what should be our response to this unprecedented situation? We work with a diverse group of people in tourism all around the world of all imaginable races, faiths, cultures and economic backgrounds and we care deeply about people and place, regardless of who they are.
Highlighted during this year’s Summit in Alaska, I personally felt there were two clear themes that had risen amongst the ATTA community and in fact we’ve been doing work in one of these areas for years. Specifically finding ways to make the connection between the global adventure tourism industry and indigenous peoples in a way that is respectful, protective and economically supportive of those locals. The second is making meaningful strides towards acknowledging the power of women in travel and taking away barriers for success.
No one can focus on too many (complicated!) issues and be effective. There were already scores of issues in our purview as a global trade association – Brexit and other nationalistic and populist movements – and with the incoming US administration in 2017, the urgency to be a force to help bring positive change to the world has hit a new pitch. However, we can focus on a few core issues we believe are paramount and make headway. So it is with that sense of purpose and energy that we at the ATTA will continue to dedicate ourselves to the many causes with which we are engaged (i.e. the Adventure Travel Conservation Fund) but expect to see more from us around the issues of women in leadership and integration of indigenous tourism.
Casey Hanisko, ATTA’s Vice President of Marketing & Communications, will be at the International Aboriginal Tourism Conference in Nova Scotia in a few short weeks. There she will participate in a panel about adventure travel and, she will also meet with partners in the indigenous community to talk about specific strategies for the future.
Our industry (and community) is leading the way on many of the most important aspects of responsible adventure tourism development (you can read about many inspiring examples of impactful travel here). Adventure tourism itself celebrates cultural diversity and protection and preservation of those things we hold sacred – nature, people, languages, culture, etc. ATTA applauds our collective membership and community worldwide for the incredible work already accomplished, well under way, and what is planned…that said, ATTA is issuing a call to action to encourage individuals and companies to double-down on efforts to do more good.
If you feel strongly about policies, laws or issues that may get reversed or be at a stand still over the next four years, I hope you’ll pick one or two specific issues and find a way to be effective in 2017! The ATTA network is here to support you and you may find that your compatriots are ready to help you too….
I quote my friend Moe Carrick and say “Now is when we hold fast!”
Keep an eye out for more from us on these issues.
For further reading: