For the first time since 2019, The Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) is taking place in person in Lugano, Switzerland, and recipients of the annual ATWS Tour Operator Scholarships will be in attendance.
Sponsored by Visit Sweden, the three 2022 scholarship recipients receive a year of Business Membership in the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), registration to the 2022 Adventure Travel World Summit, a travel stipend, and access to ATTA’s online courses in Business and Risk Management.
This year, applicants from 28 countries answered essay questions related to the mission of ATTA. Topics addressed included economic impact within local communities, innovation to conserve the natural environment and cultural heritage, climate action, and efforts toward diversity and inclusion.
“We were moved by so many applicants who we wish could also join us in Switzerland,” said Mira Poling Anselmi, Community Director for ATTA, “We rewarded nine finalists with a year of Professional Membership in ATTA, so they can access business resources, take online courses at a reduced price, and get the chance to join a thriving community that has weathered the worst of this pandemic together.”
A selection committee made up of ATTA’s Board of Directors, Visit Sweden, and ATTA members, gave the top awards to Claire Copeman, Co-Founder of Adventure Tours UK, United Kingdom; Ivania Sibrian, Founder of Guate4you, Guatemala; and Mauricio Miramontes, Co-Founder of La Mano Del Mono, Mexico. Congratulations to our winners!
Founded in 2018, tour operator Adventure Tours UK is emerging as a leader in sustainable adventure travel. According to Co-Founder Claire Copeman, “We were the first UK inbound tour operator to measure our carbon footprint and to apply carbon labels to all of our own tours.” The company also plants native trees to offset its carbon emissions and was awarded Blue Flag Sustainable Boat Tour Operator status for keeping sustainability at the heart of its mission.
Adventure Tours UK also adheres to a Responsible Travel Policy, in which they commit to working exclusively with local guides, businesses, and communities while prioritizing the culture, history, and language of the areas where they operate. “We’re grateful that the hard work and dedication we have shown to date as a young adventure travel business have been recognized by both ATTA and Visit Sweden,” Copeman said. “We’re immensely proud of being part of such a forward-thinking sector – adventure travel providers are raising the bar for everyone in travel and that is a wonderful thing. To be recognized for our merit and contribution within this industry really is incredible – thank you.”
Copeman acknowledged that it has been a challenging few years for everyone in the travel industry, and the scholarship gives Adventure Tours UK, “The boost we need at this critical time of recovery, opening doors for us through the Summit in October, increasing brand awareness through publicity of the scholarship, and providing invaluable training opportunities through the ATTA online courses.”
When asked what advice she might offer to companies who are struggling at this time, Copeman shared, “Don’t give up. The adventure travel industry is built upon people with a passion – use your passion for the outdoor spaces and the immersive experiences you love to keep going through these challenging times. Adventure travel is perfectly positioned to thrive as the effects of the pandemic settle and more and more people seek an authentic and sustainable way to explore the world.”
GUATE4YOU specializes in local, culturally-based tours in Guatamala. They offer one-day textile, gastronomic, art, and agro-tourism experiences as well as multi-day journeys.
According to Founder Ivania Sibrian, GUATE4YOU aims to have a positive local impact. “We work together with the Indigenous communities in Guatemala to design tourism experiences that allow the community and visitors to share their knowledge, culture, and cosmovision.” The result is intended to generate income that economically benefits the lives of local families, supports educational programs, and reinvests in the community as a whole.
“In the name of the communities in Guatemala and GUATE4YOU I want to say thank you to Visit Sweden and ATTA for this scholarship,” Sibrian rejoiced. “I am very excited about this opportunity, I have never traveled before to Switzerland, and I will take advantage to learn from all the participants as much as I can. My goal is to come back to Guatemala and implement new ideas and opportunities for our families.”
Sibrian shared that she is commited to making the most out of ATWS. “We believe promoting community tourism in Guatemala is a big opportunity for communities to be part of the tourism activities, empowers the communities and will give a better quality of life to the families. We are willing to learn as much as we can during the Summit and share our experiences with the communities in Guatemala.”
Offering words of inspiration to other operators, Sibrian added, “I want to encourage you to keep on the great passion you have in your work, and supporting each other and the communities is the best way to improve the tourism activities. I am confident that soon the visitors in our regions are going to come back and we will continue sharing the great knowledge of our cultures and history.”
La Mano del Mono has been an ATTA member since 2015, and Co-Founder Mauricio Miramontes is also an ATTA Ambassador. “I feel very honored to receive the scholarship to participate in the Adventure World Travel Summit 2022 in Lugano, Switzerland,” he said. “Thanks for your trust and confidence. I’m committed to taking the best of it, sharing my experiences, and learning from many others, to keep bringing together ‘local hands’ to create the ‘global changes’ our planet and people need.”
In an innovative effort to protect both the environment and local cultural heritage, La Mano del Mono supports conservation efforts in biosphere reserves that are led by Indigenous communities. They are also working on public policy to develop best practices for adventure travel in Mexico, with a focus on carrying capacity and creating a framework for sustainable tourism.
“I guess this is the main reason I really love being part of this incredible adventure community,” Miramontes said. “Because we work hard to face some of our generation’s biggest challenges such as biodiversity loss, climate change, and massive migration from rural areas, while we keep enjoying our amazing natural areas, surrounded by amazing people.”
Miramontes also shared wisdom from his grandma, which he says has helped him throughout the years and is relevant now for those in the travel industry. Her advice to him was, “Life is like hiking towards the horizon. The further you go, the further it moves away. It is your decision to get frustrated with all you have not achieved or to turn back and appreciate all you have advanced. Just remember two things: You will never get to the horizon and magic happens along the way.’”
“I believe we have gone through the most uncertain and complicated years during our journey as an adventure community,” Miramontes said. “But I believe this hard situation is making us more adaptable, and stronger and bringing us closer. We have the fortune to work in an industry that cares about our people, our planet, and also about our prosperity.”
“I’m confident that magic is happening right now,” he added, “Not only within ourselves and our companies but also, we are a powerful spark to make magic happen in our society. Let’s stay together to enjoy, appreciate and hike together because, fortunately, the horizon will keep moving forward.”
The 2022 scholarship recipients will be joined in Switzerland by the 2021 scholarship recipients, who also received registration for Adventure Travel World Summit Virtual 2021 and the benefits associated with an ATTA Business membership. The 2021 recipients are Rosette Dekool, Chief of Staff for Adventures with Locals, Uganda; Juliana Medina, the Founder of Impulse Travel, Colombia; and Ayman Abd Alkareem, General Manager of Experience Jordan, Jordan. Learn more about the 2021 Tour Operator Scholarship and the recipients.
Meet and celebrate the 2021 and 2022 scholarship recipients at the 2022 Adventure Travel World Summit in Lugano, Switzerland during the Adventure In Motion Keynote Wednesday, October 5th at 17:00 – 18:30 in Sala A.