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Imagine, Inspire, Invest: The ATTA 2013 Year in Review

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AdventureConnect at ITB Berlin, 2013

We’ve had a busy and bountiful year at the Adventure Travel Trade Association, as the global adventure tourism market continues to thrive and the ATTA community grows in reach and numbers. Take a look at some of our key highlights from 2013.


We kicked off the year with the launch of our AdventureConnect program, designed to provide on-going and qualitative regional gatherings for our members and wider community. Fifty one events over four continents throughout 2013 ranged from casual networking and activities facilitated by regional volunteers, to structured panels, working groups and research debriefings aligned with key industry events and regional ATTA expansion. Sign up for local updates here.

Read more:

Joint AdventureConnect and SXSW Eco Event Facilitates Industry Conversation on Sustainable Travel

European Industry Trends: A Field Report from AdventureConnect

We also updated our webinar program, serving hundreds of members with more than 20 webinars over the course of 2013. Webinars provided attendees with dynamic insights over a wide range of topics, including media relations, risk management and analytics, and some were offered for the first time in Spanish. See a full list of 2013’s webinars here or access the Member Webinar Library in the HUB.

We were also delighted to bring conservation and tourism expert Ms. Maxi Louis onto our 20 person Advisory Board. Ms. Louis was our first female Board member representing the African continent.


We continued to strengthen ATTA’s development into the Middle East and North African regions with the addition of Manal Kelig to our staff, as Executive Director of Middle East and North Africa. Ms. Kelig was a longtime ATTA partner and member through her founding company, Gateway to Egypt, and now serves as part of our senior strategic team.


ATTA released its new Values Statement, based collaborative process between the ATTA team, advisory board, our members and input from our partners at the UNWTO, as well as in support for ECPAT’s The Code. We ask for a commitment to these values as “Cost of Entry” to the adventure tourism sector and now require new and returning members to sign towards that commitment. See the full version of the Values Statement here.


We continued our tour operator scholarship contest another year with the support of our sponsor, the legal office of Rome McGuigan, P.C., adventure travel legal specialists.  The contest strives to select tour operators in early development stages who have shown commitment to sustainability and community principles so critical to adventure tourism, and provide them a year’s membership to the ATTA, as well as access and passage to the Adventure Travel World Summit so they may have ample resources to continue to build their operations in positive ways that give back to their host destinations and communities. For a profile on this year’s three winners and multi-media round-up of their experiences in Namibia, read here.


Lodge owner Silvio describes the delicate nature of the river flora to visitors during AdventureWeek Chile. Photo by Cameron L. Martindell/

In June, ATTA continued its tradition of building successful FAM trips for select destination, media and gear partners with an adventure trip to Jordan, who partnered with Columbia Sportswear. Later in the month, we unveiled an innovative new FAM concept and year long program that allows destinations even broader media coverage and operator networking initiatives with the inaugural AdventureWeek Chile.


In order to help further the promotion of adventure tourism, the ATTA created a new membership category for travel advisors, and began working with its already current adviser membership to identify key resources and information to help them better educate and serve global consumers. Expect more to come for travel advisers in 2014 and beyond!

We also updated our newsletter into two separate categories – a weekly version, called ATN NOW, which distributes timely trade-focused updates from ATTA members and ATTA announcements, and the traditional monthly version, AdventureTravelNews, now focused on bringing high-quality, original content on topics with industry-wide impact.


‘Birdwatching and Dunes in Actopan’ FAM, by Ocomatli. Photo courtesy of Evan Swinehart.

The ATTA partnered with Mexico and Veracruz for the second annual Adventure Travel Mexico (ATMEX) trade fair. This year, from August 14th – 17th, over 400 inbound Mexican operators, outbound tour operators, international buyers and media gathered to learn more about the benefits of offering adventure travel and will develop partnerships to grow the adventure travel industry in Mexico. Read about trends, challenges and opportunities gleaned from the event and view the slideshow.


Delegates preparing for the Peer-to-Peer exchange at the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit in Namibia

We announced that the 2014 host destination for the eleventh annual Adventure Travel World Summit will be Ireland! Failtre!

The inaugural AdventureWeek Chile embarked – read the trip report here and watch a video of the experience.

Meanwhile an updated version of our Adventure Travel Market Report was released, with new data for 2012, putting the industry at a global value of $263 billion – a 65 percent jump from the initial survey in 2009. See the Infographic here.

We also welcomed Steve Barker, founder of Eagle Creek Travel Gear, to the Advisory Board, hoping to tap into his experience in the industry for 30 plus years as we navigate strategic partnerships with brands that recognize the economic potential of the adventure travel market.


The 2014 Summit in Ireland is Open for Registration

Register Now

The tenth annual Adventure Travel World Summit saw over 650 delegates from 63 countries gather in Namibia to “Imagine, Inspire & Invest.” During the event, we were proud to announce a new collaboration between with the WWF that will allow their conservation initiatives and adventure travel models to be more deeply integrated on a global scale, as well as our  commitment by the ATTA to deliver a guide training program in 2014.

Visit our Summit Overview Gallery for additional videos, slideshows and important partnership announcements.


AdventureEDU – New York. Photo by David Noyes

New York State became the first U.S. Destination to complete courses from ATTA’s AdventureEDU, as the state moved to bolster its commitment to building a strong and sustainable adventure travel industry as part of new investments in tourism. AdventureEDU is a consultative and education program with courses across five subject areas for governments, associations and individual companies in providing the best adventure travel experience in a safe and sustainable practice. Read more on New York’s training program here. Previous clients in 2013 also included Peru and the Western Balkans.


Throughout the course of the year we added a host of new member benefits, resources and discounts:

Learn more about Membership

Learn More

Delegates enjoying a preview of what is to come at the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit during the Ireland Dinner at the 2013 Summit in Namibia

We wrapped up the year with additional expansion of our senior team, adding longtime ATTA partners into full-time roles, with the hiring of Christina Beckmann as the Director of AdventureEDU & Research, and Liz Ferrin as the Director of Strategic Partnerships. Both roles reflect heavy investments we’re making in providing rich new resources for members and clients to come in 2014. We’re looking forward to working with you in the coming year!

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