Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) Adventure Champions are the vanguards of the adventure travel industry having been members of ATTA and leaders in the community for a minimum of 15 years. They are true believers in the power of adventure travel and have made an impact on the direction of ATTA and on the industry as a whole. To honor their commitment to their ethos and lasting contribution to the adventure travel industry we are spotlighting Adventure Champions through a series of interviews
Himalayan High Treks
Headquarters: United States
ATTA Member since 2006
Introducing Effie Fletcher, Founder and Director:
Tell us about Himalayan High Treks:
We began in 1988 as an alternative to large, commercial travel companies — who often sub-contract a visitor's experience to unknown places and people. Instead, Himalayan High Treks has first-hand knowledge of every trail, site, point of interest, and staff member you'll encounter along your journey.
Our small group and independent custom trips are in the company of experienced English-speaking guides who were born and live in the regions you travel. Our small size is our strength, affording us the flexibility to develop adventure itineraries with close contact with the communities visited.
Why have you stayed an ATTA member for 15+ years?
I enjoy the people of ATTA and the support it gives.
How has your company and destination changed over the last 15 years?:
Change has happened in many ways, both good and bad. More roads, increased pollution, and environmental impacts are the negatives, but wider access to education and medical care for our local staff are on the plus side.
What is the greatest force that drives you to work every day?
I feel a responsibility both to my clients and the staff in the countries we visit. They are my partners in creating these travel experiences and I never want to disappoint them by not doing my very best. I come to work hoping to create memories for those who travel with me while ensuring the safety and livelihood of our talented local partners.
What gives you hope about the next generation of adventure travel leaders?
I think people now are more committed to environmental protection. The Himalayan region is so beautiful, and I am glad to see travelers being kinder to its natural beauty. I think the next generation of leaders will expand on this environmentalism.
What is your advice for young adventure travel companies?
Travel widely. Get to know the people and the destinations that you represent.
What gets you excited about the future of adventure travel?
After years of people being cooped up at home, I am excited to be able to bring people abroad again. I think for everyone, myself included, we won’t take travel for granted and can appreciate the experience of the first meal after arriving in Kathmandu or reaching the views from a high pass anew. I am hopeful that when people travel, they gain an appreciation for the cultures and the places that they visit. I am really excited to go to new destinations and see where this year brings us.
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