Regional News Europe: Back In-Person with ATWS 2022 and More

6 September 2022

It is with great excitement that I share that the Summit in Switzerland this year brings together more than 750 delegates from 56 countries to learn, network, and advance the adventure travel industry in a more thoughtful and sustainable way. 

Europe is represented from all the “corners” - from North to South, East to West. Nearly half of the delegates come from Europe and Central Asia and the partner representation holds leadership from Europe with half of them representing European national and regional-level destinations. Explore the delegates list here which also includes more than 100 outbound operators and 60 media delegates. 

I strongly believe that this Summit will set the tone for a next generation of Summit events - with our host Ticino Tourism and Switzerland Tourism, taking the lead in ensuring that this will be a climate-neutral event - from its proposal and of course, with ATTA’s thoughtful support in this transition. We plan on publishing a special report on this several months after the wrap-up of the event. 

Lugano, Switzerland, ATWS 2022 host destination.

Travel Industry Recovery Journey

With the European travel industry having a strong summer season (European Travel Commission’s expectation is for a 70% recovery of pre-pandemic numbers by the end of the year), marked by the constant uncertainty (aren’t we getting used to this during the past several years), there is hope for recovery. Based on what we hear from our members, it remains in their hands to be flexible and be prepared for last-minute requests, bookings, and adjustments. During July and August, among the overall capacity issues, flight cancellations brought an additional layer of complexity. 

While dealing with these pressing concerns, the positive, continuing development over the last two years is that travelers are looking for more sustainable and adventure tourism experiences (we can all summarize it as soft adventure), and their expectations for sustainability keep rising. The investment by those businesses and destinations that have been put towards sustainability practices and tactics will start paying off more and more with the advancing mindset of the adventure traveler. For those that still do not know where to start - you can contact the ATTA Europe team at [email protected] to share with you some tools and resources so that you can be relevant and catch up with the demand. To further encourage you, please know that the Head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor comments that “travel businesses are doubling down on their sustainability initiatives on the long journey to net zero.”

Note to the French Community

As IFTM Top Resa in Paris is just around the corner, Céline Fortin, ATTA Regional Manager – Europe, addresses the French community with updates from our industry and upcoming events in our latest ATTA  French Regional news: C’est la rentrée, fini l’été et la route des vacances…Préparons-nous pour le marathon des salons du tourisme qui commence! 

Member Trends

As a member organization, we try to stay close to our community. During the past several months, we have connected with some of our members, and we have asked them about the health of their business and what innovations and new strategies they have applied to their business. 

© ATTA / AdventureELEVATE 2022 / Eugene, Oregon

Innovative product experiences have been a focus for European and global members.  A few examples include offering experiences for specialized traveler profiles, self-guided experiences, luxury cars experiences and higher quality of accommodation. To respond to the sustainability demand (also mentioned above), companies have developed train-to-hike experiences, carbon neutral experiences or such with minimal carbon footprint, have put more emphasis on transparency and have started encouraging travelers from the same starting destination, if traveling by car, to share their vehicle. From an activity perspective, many of the service providers confirm an increasing interest in cycling activities (e-biking, yoga & cycling, sailing & biking, gravel biking, etc.) 

The ATTA members from Europe and Central Asia keep growing over the past several months. Of course, having the Summit this year in Europe combined with the COVID-19 special “pay what you can” enables more organizations to come on board during this journey of recovery. You can visit the ATTA New Members page to explore newly-joined organizations 

Ukraine & Moldova

A new white paper addressing the impact of the war in Ukraine on local tourism businesses there and in surrounding countries was published earlier this summer. The white paper – named Tourism for Ukraine: Key Actions the Tourism Industry Can Take to Support Ukraine and Neighboring Countries was put together by a task force comprising international organizations and experts, including ATTA. The list will help bridge the intention-action gap for individuals and businesses in tourism who want to support, but don’t know what to do or where to start. Those that take some of the recommended active steps are encouraged to report back using an online survey linked from the document. 

New white paper aims to bridge the intention-action gap for individuals and businesses in tourism who want to support Ukraine, but don’t know what to do or where to start.

As we all know - many industries in Ukraine and the neighboring countries are negatively affected by the ongoing conflict. The ATTA attended this summit Outdoor by ISPO in Munich where we met with representatives from Turbat - a gear brand from Ukraine (now ATTA members), offering a wide variety of outdoor gear. Those interested in learning more and connecting with them can do it during the Summit in Lugano in October, through the HUB or through your ATTA Community Lead

Another destination heavily impacted by the war is neighboring Moldova. The ATTA is honored to have now ANTRIM (National Inbound and Domestic Tourism Association of Moldova) as a member and to have their Executive Director, Ms. Natalia Turcanu at the Summit. Two suppliers from Moldova - GoAdventure and Tatrabis (also ATTA members), will also be present at ATWS, and anyone interested in getting in touch with them can contact them through the HUB or ask for an introduction by the respective ATTA Community Lead. 

ATTA Europe Team on the Road

Meet ATTA Europe team on the road. Pictured from left: Céline Fortin, Regional Manager, Europe, and Gergana Nikolova, Regional Director, Europe & Central Asia.

The ATTA will be active throughout Europe during the next few months. You can check ATTA on the Road for future developments and updates, but here are a few key events where you can meet Céline Fortin, Regional Manager, Europe, or myself: 

The next issue of the European newsletter is planned for the beginning of December and we hope to continue sharing relevant insights and updates for you. Let us know if you have any ideas on how to make this further useful by emailing us at [email protected] 

Good luck and fingers crossed for a strong end of the year, and I hope to see you at one of the events mentioned above.