Adventure is hiking to a 2,000-year-old cave painting that reminds you how much hasn’t changed.
Adventure is helping a former poacher save a turtle’s life.
Adventure is learning that manta rays can fly!
Adventure is a room with a view.
Adventure is not being afraid of sharks.
The word “adventure” conjures up images of ziplines and skydiving in many modern minds. If you’re reading this article because you work in the adventure industry, you surely know about all the wrong directions the word “adventure” can go. When we as the ATTA say that our mission is to “professionalize the adventure travel industry,” we don’t mean that we’re trying to sterilize the definition of adventure. If anything, we’re trying to let it get a little dirty.
Adventure travel cannot be summed up in a single destination or type of destination or a specific activity. It’s a state of mind, it’s an attitude, a willingness, a generosity. Expressing this definition of adventure is our life’s work. It’s not something we write-up for one keynote at the Adventure Travel World Summit or for one great line in a brochure or a website. It’s more like a collage — a sum of many many parts. Our members each have a piece of the whole and together we are the whole. Together we lead the industry, because we are the industry. And we lead by example, saying “This is Adventure.” This thing that we are doing. This itinerary we are offering. This policy that shapes our company culture. This program we created that’s unlike anything else out there. This destination we put on the tourism map without wiping it off the map. This unique experience one traveler had one time that can never be replicated. This is adventure.
In our continued efforts to lead a revolution in tourism, we invite you to use the hashtag #thisisadventure whenever you think that what you are offering is part of the essence of adventure travel.
We tried it out last week during AdventureWeek Baja Sur. The Baja California peninsula in Mexico is almost synonymous with “spring break” and the kinds of holidays that are characterized by alcohol and sunburns.
“Baja Sur has — more than anytime in history — a unique opportunity to reverse this stereotype,” says ATTA storyteller Mark Crawford, who was participating in AdventureWeek Baja Sur. “They have the adventure opportunities that come with bragging rights, they have the world class food, and they have the culture. They have a pristine product that’s wrapped in a bow and ready to go, but the challenge is how to get it in the hands of the ‘millennials’ that we often talk about in terms of the hot new market group.”
The answer, Mark says: social media. And we couldn’t agree more.
“Advertising Baja Sur is going to take a lot more than just some brochures, book reviews, and even slick, polished videos that detail out all the exciting things Baja Sur has to offer,” offers Mark (literally hours after getting back to his home in Colorado from the intense 9-day FAM).
Baja Sur needs what all adventure destinations need: creative social media campaigns that grow organically out of authentic experiences. “If Baja Sur provides its visitors easily accessible tools — hashtags, Instagram and Twitter handles, video contests,” says Mark, “over time it will build an army of advertisers exponentially more powerful than any one well shot video. All those advocates talking about how ‘sexy’ it is to swim with whale sharks and play with sea lions can create a greater awareness of protecting the wildlife.”
Mark’s footage from AdventureWeek Baja Sur is where he walks the talk. We’ll be sharing Mark’s videos and fellow storyteller Hassen Salum’s photos from Baja California Sur over the coming weeks. Hopefully, you’re following the ATTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and you’ve already seen #thisisadventure at work in Mexico.
“In a few years I’m hoping to visit Baja Sur again,” says Mark Crawford, “and when I do, I hope that I see a new crowd — college students talking with each other about the adventures they’ll have outside the beach culture. Instead of flip flops, I’ll see hiking boots covered in fresh sand from camping with RED Sustainable travel at Magdalena Bay. Instead of T-shirts with obscenities on them, maybe something that says ‘whales are sexy’ (I call trademark on that!). This new crowd will be having an adventure of a lifetime in the surreal deserts, stark canyons, lagoons and waters of Baja Sur.”
Try it out. We share your #thisisadventure photos on Instagram and Twitter.