Seattle, WA—More than 600 tourism industry professionals from 50 countries gathered in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico October 17-20 for the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit, which was inaugurated by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón—the first head of state to champion adventure travel as the crux of tourism promotion for an entire country.
In his opening speech the President addressed the importance of the adventure travel industry as a restorative force for both the people and land of Mexico and beyond.
“It is an honor to be hosting the eighth edition of the Adventure Travel World Summit,” stated Calderón “…I believe that if we know how to find, through adventure travel, the ability to employ those who own the land, woods, rainforests or deserts, the lakes or lagoons, that we will find a path to correcting the terrible inequalities of our country and the world.”
Calderón continued, “Adventure tourism allows us to protect our natural resources through mechanisms that have also have economic incentives.”
Calderón and Mexico’s Tourism Secretary, Gloria Guevara, were introduced by Adventure Travel Trade Association President Shannon Stowell, who addressed the Summit’s, “Prosper with Purpose” message.
“We are pleased with President Calderón’s notice to the world that adventure travel is not only important for Mexico, but for all destinations who are looking for a competitive edge in the promotion and local prosperity of their land and people,” stated ATTA President Shannon Stowell. “This is in perfect timing for our mission to continue moving the leisure travel peg to point at adventure travel worldwide, for the true betterment of the destination as well as the traveler.”
Noting the importance of the role of host, Rodolfo López Negrete, Director of Consejo de Promoción Turística de México, stated, “The Summit has been a watershed for previous hosting cities’ tourism industries, and we can assure that Mexico will have the same impact and success.”
Tourism officials in Mexico, a country typically branded as a sun and beach destination, are now leveraging the Summit to position the country as a competitive destination for adventure travelers who typically spend more, stay longer, require less investment from the host destination and are committed to environmental and cultural preservation.
The adventure travel tourism industry has an annual, worldwide economic impact of $89 billion. The Summit in Chiapas sold out two months ahead of the event. Registration is now open for the 2012 Summit, which will be held in Lucerne, Switzerland, at: http://www.adventuretravel.biz/atws2012.