Even as adventure travel continues to expand in size and scope, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) invites delegates attending the Adventure Travel World Summit in Montecatini Terme, Tuscany, Italy, to take a step back, recall the heart of adventure, and ultimately walk away reconnected with their profession, reinvigorated to advance their businesses, and ready to tackle industry issues. The recently announced agenda for the 15-18 October event and roundtable discussions about key industry topics set against a particularly noteworthy landscape promise to deliver an elevated experience reflecting the Summit’s theme, Wellspring.
In recognizing the industry’s ability to make a positive impact in the world, the ATTA is introducing Adventure Accelerators to engage the adventure travel community in an open conversation about its key initiatives. These espresso-fueled brainstorm sessions will be limited to delegates who sign up to participate and won’t follow a set curriculum; rather, the ATTA and trusted advisors will facilitate intimate conversations for delegates to discuss, share, and provide feedback on women in leadership, eliminating plastics, climate action, young leaders, guide standards, and Indigenous tourism.
“With our early-riser Adventure Accelerators, we want to attract small groups of delegates who are truly committed to and passionate about key matters the ATTA stands behind and is investing in to make serious positive progress,” said Chris Doyle, ATTA / Adventure 360 executive director, Europe and Central Asia. “Diverse leaders within our broader community are invited to bring expertise, experience, and perspectives to help working groups keep the fires burning year-round on these topics and to accelerate progress toward shared aspirations and objectives.”
It is particularly fitting that Adventure Accelerators are initiated in the town of Montecatini Terme, known for its therapeutic spas drawn from a hydro-mineral basin located 60-80 meters beneath the earth. This is a destination lending itself to hidden getaways, interesting discoveries, and a chance to rediscover adventure travel’s own sources of inspiration. This environment is ideal for thoughtful discourse, tapping into the roots of adventure travel about those topics with which the community is concerned and allowing its diverse and committed members to unite to make a positive impact. Though the ATTA has identified topics for discussion, delegates are encouraged to embrace the Wellspring theme to surface other topics adventure travel can affect.
Delegates at this year’s Summit will be immersed in the day-to-day culture of Montecatini Terme in its coffee shops, gelato, green spaces, and blooming gardens as they walk from venue to venue. The Summit’s meticulously curated agenda plays out against this backdrop, encouraging both professional growth and exploration while also offering space for delegates to reflect on their place in the industry.
In the heart of the town sits the beautiful Teatro Verdi. Established in 1854, this theatre is where delegates will gather for plenary sessions and partner lunches. Presentations by global thought leaders will stir and compel during keynote sessions: Exploration, Connection, Convergence, Within, and Forward.
Greeting delegates with a wow-worthy, shell-shaped fountain with rushing water, Terme Tettuccio, the town’s oldest thermal establishment, is a well-suited place for delegates to reestablish those connections that join them. It will provide a fitting environment for the People-Centered Leadership Lab, for example, where delegates will immerse themselves in the fundamentals of leading well. On the digital roadmap, an ATTA favorite returns with a live critique or “CAT scan” of social profiles, incorporating expert feedback on business websites, social handles, and mobile apps for delegates willing to put their brands on stage and gain valuable and impactful intel. The Summit’s international supplier Marketplace, Destination Showcase, and MediaConnect — all opportunities to create and foster professional partnerships — further connect delegates to one another and create long-lasting business relationships.
A short walk from Teatro Verdi is Terme Excelsior, a grand establishment more than 100 years old. The building’s name, which is a Latin word meaning “ever upward,” is a meaningful setting for Young Leaders Driving Disruption, focused on innovations and solutions developed by the Millennial generation, along with Back to Nature, highlighting creative and sustainable nature-smart approaches to help balance natural settings with everyday society and life. During Adventuring without Borders, session leaders will offer insight for creating more inclusive consumer products in a world of travelers with diverse ages, abilities, and access needs. This is also where delegates can stop by to connect with 50 of the ATTA’s partners to learn more about their products and services.
Many of this year’s educational sessions will take place in Terme Tamerici, a name originating from the trees located by the nearby water spring. Outfitted with bas-reliefs, ornamentation, and an intriguing mix of styles, delegates are invited to step inside to attend Accelerating Smart Sustainability for Destinations for insight into avoiding overtourism. This building is also an apropos backdrop for Staying A Step Ahead, where workshop leaders will help destination-focused and travel industry decision-makers pick apart recent research to build a plan for healthy, long-term growth. With an eye toward the future, Extending Adventure’s Impact presents case studies alongside tangible suggestions for putting climate action plans into place. And on the last day of the Summit, delegates are encouraged to sit back and absorb an impactful film screening of A Plastic Ocean, a Social Impact Media Award-winning documentary.
With the unconventional setting of Montecatini Terme, it is only fitting a couple additional unconventional surprises accompany the event as well. During two separate sessions of Street Wisdom (limited to 12 people per session), led by media delegate and “Street Wizard” Anja Mutic, delegates will learn how to find the answers to their most pressing questions in the surrounding environment. And in response to the popular Instragram walkabout from AdventureELEVATE 2015, Sree Sreenivasan will lead two Instragram Walkabouts during the 2018 Summit.
Though the Adventure Travel World Summit is already sold out, the ATTA is debuting a digital access pass. Unlocking educational content, this feature allows those who want to attend the event but cannot be a part of the Summit in person to learn, improve, evolve, and prepare to successfully advance into the future. Attending Summit delegates will receive a special discount to the video content. Sign up for Summit updates to be alerted as more details on the digital access pass are released.
The educational experience continues at the ATTA’s Leadership Studio, Rising Together: A Workshop for Leaders Committed to Equity and Inclusion, on 19 October. This event, which requires a separate registration from the Summit and is limited to 100 people, will be led by Moe Carrick of Moementum and is open to all leaders, regardless of gender. Structured with experiential exercises, robust conversations, and skill-building activities, participants will navigate best practices for developing partnerships across differences. Registration is now open for the leadership studio.