For over 15 years, the ATTA has surveyed its growing database of tour operators and produced an annual State of the Industry Snapshot report. In these reports, adventure travel tour operators are invited to share information about their business operations as well as trends they are experiencing with respect to traveler demographics, destinations, and activities.
For the 2022 report, a survey was conducted between February-March 2022, and asked operators about their business operations, 2021 sales, 2022 booking expectations, travel trends, and consumer motivations.
This year’s survey results show that COVID-19 is still a concern for travelers and is having an impact on adventure travel businesses, but the industry is generally recovering. The top trending destinations are places with higher vaccination rates, and socially distanced itineraries and activities remain popular.
All regions served more guests on average in 2021 than 2020, but none returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, and overall respondents saw 66% fewer guests than in 2019. Nine percent of respondents had zero guests in 2021, down from 16% in 2020.
It is also clear that sustainability is being treated as a priority for the adventure tourism industry, which is not surprising. Last year’s Industry Snapshot report found that 40% of respondents were working toward a sustainability certification, and the number has increased to 45% this year. Maintaining community livelihoods has also increased in importance in the past year, showing a dedication to social and economic sustainability.
Some key findings include:
The Impact of COVID-19
- On average, trips were 52% full (up from 36% in 2020)
- The average number of travelers served by respondents was 1,355, a 142% increase from 560 in 2020
- Staffing in various departments has remained relatively stable over the past year
- 81% of respondents had some reduction in revenue compared to 2020, but it was much less extreme than the 2019-2020 decrease. 30% had a 2021 gross annual revenue of less than $50,000, down from 45% in 2020.
Popular Trip Itineraries, Destinations and Activities
- Respondents’ most popular itinerary is priced at $2,900 (for 8 nights), 70% of which ($2,030 on average) is spent with local suppliers
- The most popular consumer motivations for traveling were new experiences, to go off the beaten track, and to travel like a local
- The hottest trending destinations were the Mediterranean, Western Europe, the United States, Scandinavia, and the Caribbean
- Globally, approximately two-thirds (62%) of bookings are made directly with the service provider
- 62% of respondents have an online reservation system that takes credit cards, up from 50% in previous years
- Globally, 82% of respondents expect their 2022 net profit to be equal to or better than 2021
- 73% of respondents are seeing an improvement in domestic travel demand for 2022
- 62% of respondents are seeing an improvement in international travel demand for 2022
ATTA CEO, Shannon Stowell commented on the report, “The need for, and power of responsible adventure travel is higher than ever. All of you in the industry have been asked to stretch and hang in there longer than would have even been imaginable in 2019. Congratulations on finding the strength to continue!
We look forward to serving you another year and covet your ideas, inspiration and feedback. Years from now we’ll look back and see how our community kept us safer and got stronger together. Because while COVID-19 bent us, we are not broken. Adventure on, friends.”