Introducing Lugano, Switzerland, Host Destination for the Return of Adventure Travel World Summit 2022

24 May 2022

The Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) is the largest annual event hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) in partnership with different host destinations each year. Since the signature event’s inception in 2005, the Summit has never returned to a host country; so when ATTA and Switzerland Tourism decided to bring the Summit back to Switzerland at the ten year anniversary of the 2012 ATWS in Lucerne, the ensuing question was “where in Switzerland will we take the adventure travel community next?” 

While the Summit is known for its educational sessions, inspirational speakers, networking events (Marketplace and MediaConnect), and entertainment, it is equally regarded as a key trade opportunity to experience a leading adventurous destination. Following a successful 2012 Summit in Lucerne and AdventureWeek Switzerland last year, the ATWS 2022 event location options were numerous, but ultimately the event organizers decided to showcase Switzerland’s distinct regional diversity by selecting Lugano. “Switzerland is considered the birthplace of adventure travel, and it offers a wide diversity of experiences. With four different languages spoken, the regions are each so unique. The Italian-speaking Lugano will feel like an entirely different location from the 2012 Summit in Lucerne (and most of Switzerland)–it has a Mediterranean feel, but still authentically Swiss,” says Gergana Nikolova, ATTA’s Regional Director for Europe. 

Photos from AdventureWeek Switzerland 2021, by Kristen Kellogg and Fredrik Bye

Why Lugano? 

Lugano is the largest city located in the Ticino Canton (region/state) of Italian-speaking southern Switzerland. Situated along the southern Alpine slopes, the region boasts lush vegetation and stunning viewpoints of mountains and lakes and offers a wide variety of adventurous activities and scenic hiking trails. Ticino is Switzerland’s sunniest region; its moderate climate ensures that early October will be an excellent time to visit.  

With its typical grottos, its Michelin-starred restaurants, and its beautiful villages, Lugano is the perfect place to enjoy “la Dolce Vita.” Ticino Tourism describes the region as having “Swiss quality with an Italian lifestyle.” With its Mediterranean flair, traffic-free historic town center, incredible wine and cuisine, accessible public transportation, adventure, and venue offerings, Lugano is an exceptional ATWS host destination, measured by both the delegate experience and the region’s commitment to sustainability. 

While a thriving adventure travel industry is important, ATTA places equal emphasis on the partner’s responsible tourism and sustainability initiatives when selecting event destinations. As part of ATTA’s mission, we recognize the need to protect natural and cultural resources in a way that benefits communities and businesses in the outdoor adventure travel industry – for today and for the future – and we seek destinations that align with this belief. In line with the quintessentially Swiss sensitivity to the environment, Lugano encourages sustainable mobility through a reliable public transport system, including the Ticino Ticket and Ceneri Tunnel, and a widespread Bike Sharing service. Lugano also earned its name as an Energy City in 2019 and has fulfilled more than 50% of the required goals in the program. The Ticino website gives advice on reducing emissions and, where to eat, sleep, and which partners in the region are particularly attentive to sustainability. 

In agreements with live event host partners, ATTA collaborates to align the ATTA community’s values and goals with those of the destination in order to purchase and hire locally whenever possible, conserve water, reduce plastic use, avoid food waste, and limit energy consumption and transport within the context of each event. The Adventure Travel World Summit 2022 is part of a two-year collaboration with Switzerland Tourism centered on sustainable tourism. In addition to the event’s sustainability commitment, the agenda emphasizes this focus and will incorporate the elements that define us with the theme “Air, Water, Fire, Earth.”  

The Adventure Travel World Summit 2022 in Lugano 

ATWS 222 Opening Reception will take place in the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura pictured above.

The event will take place across multiple incredible venues, including the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura and Palazzo di Congressi. The event’s opening reception will take place on 3 October at the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura. This stunning modern building is the new Arts Centre dedicated to the visual arts, music, and the performing arts, which promises to become one of Switzerland’s most important cultural institutions, with the aim of promoting a wide range of art and establishing Lugano as a cultural crossroads between northern and southern Europe. The Summit’s plenary and concurrent educational sessions, along with Marketplace and Media Connect, will take place 3-6 October at the Palazzo dei Congressi (The Convention Center).

Plenary and concurrent educational sessions, Marketplace, and MediaConnect will take place in the Palazzo dei Congressi (The Convention Center) pictured above.

Lugano offers a wide variety of hotels, ranging from one to five star and luxury accommodation and belonging to well-known brands or family-run. Some of the hotels are housed in historical buildings whereas others offer more modern lodgings. Because Lugano is a rather small city, all hotels are within walking distance from the Palazzo dei Congressi (Convention Center) or easily reachable by a short bus ride. Local hotels have made a number of guest rooms available at a discounted rate for a very limited time. Delegates are strongly encouraged to book hotels early to secure availability and the ATWS 2022 discounted rate. 

Transportation: Swiss Travel Pass

The extensive and reliable public transportation system in Switzerland allows complete adventure trips to be covered by train, bus, boat, and other means of transportation, end-to-end, with no cars or vans needed.  ​All registered delegates will receive a complimentary Swiss Travel Pass providing 6-15 days of unlimited access to the Swiss Travel System network, including free entrance to over 500 museums and exhibitions. Delegates are encouraged to register early to secure a limited number of 15-day passes as they will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Delegates that do not receive the 15-day pass will receive an 8-day or a 6-day pass with registration. This will include full access to public transportation and many attractions in Lugano. Further information is available at: 

Opportunities to Experience Lugano and Ticino Region

Day of Adventures
Funicular Monte San Salvatore

Day of Adventures (DOAs) are one-day adventure trips that will take place on the first day of ATWS, Monday 3 October 2022. Day of Adventures will feature the best activities and sites for active adventure travelers in the Ticino region. They will be offered to all ATWS delegates at no cost. Registered guests of delegates may join a DOA for a discounted price, if available.

Ticino’s adventure tour operators and local tourism boards are crafting itineraries to experience a wide range of activities that will showcase the strength and depth of Switzerland’s “swisstainable” mindset. These adventures will include urban swimming and stand-up paddleboarding in Lake Lugano, mountain biking on Monte Brè, uncovering the cultural history of Mount Verità, paragliding over Lake Lugano, learning how to cook the perfect risotto, or climbing one of the highest artificial climbing walls at the Diga di Luzzone Dam.  

“We are thrilled to be able to host the beautiful ATTA community in Ticino, and we hope that ATWS participants will return home with new ideas and inspiration for their future projects. We look forward to introducing you to the beauty of Switzerland's southernmost region - famous for its nature, villages, culture, and Mediterranean climate,” says Angelo Trotta, Director of Ticino Tourism.  Please visit the event website to learn more about Adventure Travel World Summit 2022.