The Dawn of the New Adventure Traveler? Ten Industry Leaders Sound Off on Shifting Traveler Expectations and Disintermediation

18 April 2013

The UN World Tourism Organization’s Secretary General Taleb Rifai indicated at the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit that the old way of doing travel and doing business in tourism is not sustainable and that the model of tourism has shifted. Mr. Rifai stated, “Adventure tourism is the future of tourism”.

Adventure tourism, in fact, is already seeing some significant shifts today. In the traditional way, most travelers relied on international outbound tour operators and travel agents to curate their on-the-ground experience. This traditional model is rapidly being altered.

The role of suppliers, with their increasing ability to directly reach, serve and cater to international travelers, is having a notable impact on international outbound tour operators. This situation is often referred to as “disintermediation,” or with less jargon, the role of the “middle man” appears to be on the decline.

We interviewed a range of our experienced tour operator members in the European, North American and Latin American regions to capture their thoughts and strategic approaches in dealing with these current realities.

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