Photography by David Noyes.
On November 19, 2013, in conjunction with the New York State Tourism, the ATTA provided upstate New York suppliers, CVBs and agencies the first-ever AdventureEDU program for a U.S. destination. The one-day event drew nearly 100 adventure travel companies to the state capitol to hear presentations on defining adventure travel and the adventure traveler, trends in tourism marketing and adventure marketing for destinations.
"I found the event to be truly enlightening," said Robert Rafferty of Adirondack Rafting Company. "It was great to get all these people we work with into the same room to connect and share information and we really learned a lot, certainly from the presenters but also from each other."
The sometimes standing-room only workshop attendees enjoyed presentations from Russell Walters from Northern Outdoors, Julie Thorner of the marketing firm WillowWorks and ATTA Executive Director for North America & Oceania Chris Chesak.
In recent years New York has been focusing more on the appeal of its nature and culture assets for visitors and encouraging local businesses of all kinds to integrate adventure components into their products and marketing. Their recent, “Get Outta Town” campaign, emphasizing that New York has the largest park in the lower 48 states is one prime example of the heightened emphasis on active travel.
The speakers were tasked by the state tourism board to deliver tangible, action-able items for the attendees, so the adventure travel presentations also included various exercises for the attendees to practice what they had just learned.
A final exercise in 'Marketing to the Adventure Travel Consumer' resulted in teams creating several (theoretical) dynamic new adventure travel products for upstate New York, including a Short-Eared Owl safari, winter raptor festival, a bike trip to explore farms via food, a multisport adventure on the Champlain canal, and a tour of Camp Sagamore.
"This event definitely accomplished our objective, which was to teach our suppliers and upstate destinations about adventure travel and how they can develop, package and sell adventure travel product," said Markly Wilson, New York Tourism's Director of International Marketing. "Now these companies and CVBs are going home tonight with actionable steps to help them build their businesses and better help them reach, communicate with and sell to their core customers."
The event was held in conjunction with a similar workshop on Heritage Tourism, bringing the state's total event attendance to 247. The workshop was so successful that the state is considering making the AdventureEDU program an annual event.
In September of 2013 the ATTA delivered an AdventureEDU program in the Balkans. Additional ATTA AdventureEdu programs are being planned now for 2014; interested destinations and operators can contact us to learn more.