The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is now taking submissions for its Tour Operator Scholarship Program for the 2017 Adventure Travel World Summit. The scholarship, which is awarded annually, is intended to foster innovative and meaningful growth of the adventure travel industry and provide financial support to early-stage adventure tourism enterprises.
Each year the ATTA seeks motivated tour operators who show a demonstrated potential for creating a positive impact on local cultural, ecological, or historical resources and a high level of professionalism while employing ethical business practices. Scholarship winners for 2017 will gain access to the ATTA’s global network of more than 1,000 members, membership resources and benefits, and a delegate seat for the 2017 Adventure Travel World Summit in Salta, Argentina, 16-19 October 2017.
This year’s Tour Operator Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada (ATAC), with an additional scholarship for a woman-owned business provided by the Adventure Angels.
“The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada is proud to sponsor this year’s Tour Operator Scholarship Program for the 2017 Adventure Travel World Summit,” said Keith Henry of the ATAC. “We commend the ATTA for supporting us with a new focus on Indigenous tourism experiences and operators. ATAC is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Aboriginal tourism industry in Canada and sharing best practices globally. Our partnership with the ATTA is helping us do this by encouraging more participation by international Indigenous tourism operators at the ATWS and other global events. We look forward to welcoming the scholarship winners with open arms.”
All entries will be reviewed by members of the ATTA staff and Advisory Board, as well as the Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada, and then voted upon to determine the winners based on demonstrated need, a history of and potential for positive impact, and work related to Indigenous tourism. Indigenous companies and experience providers owned or controlled by Indigenous people and/or communities will be given a higher priority in the scholarship selection, however it is not a requirement to apply.
The Tour Operator Scholarship submission period opened 31 May 2017, with final entries due by 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on 25 June 2017. Only 75 applicants will be accepted; if 75 applications are received prior to 25 June, the application period will close early. Qualified tour operators may access the Tour Operator Scholarship submission form, the complete and official program, and application details. Tour Operator Scholarship winners will be announced by 12 July 2017.
For the second year, the Adventure Angels, a group of women who share and pursue the spirit of adventure, will provide an additional scholarship to support a woman-owned adventure business based in an emerging market country. The winner will be selected jointly by the ATTA and the Adventure Angels and will receive the same support as the other scholarship winners as well as a 14-hour mentorship package with the Adventure Angels.
“We are thrilled and proud to announce our second scholarship to support a female business owner from an emerging destination to attend ATWS 2017,” said Dana Johnson of Adventure Angels. “We are committed to advancing the ATTA’s goal of recognizing the power of women in travel and taking away the unique obstacles they face. The full and equal participation of women is probably the biggest challenge to be overcome to ensure the long-term success of the adventure travel industry.”
The Adventure Angels Scholarship submission period opened 22 May 2017 with final entries due by 11:59 p.m. (PDT) on 18 June 2017. Eligible applicants should use the separate Adventure Angels Abundance Scholarship application form. Adventure Angels Scholarship winners will be announced by 12 July 2017.
Winners of the 2016 scholarship were Legends of the Wild and Kurdistan Iraq Tours (both based out of the United States), and True Adventure from Iceland. The funding gave the organizations an opportunity to take calculated risks while advancing business goals. “We established Kurdistan Iraq Tours LLC when no one else would enter the business and kept it alive when all others failed during war and economic hardship. We have finally turned the corner after an extended time of crisis and look forward to a bright future in this amazing land of beauty and adventure,” said Douglas Layton, owner of the company.
Gisli Steinar Johannesson, founder of True Adventure, also highlighted the importance of connecting with others working in the industry at the annual Adventure Travel World Summit event: “Being a small business that’s just starting up doesn’t give you many opportunities to attend big conferences. So the news that True Adventure was chosen to win the Tour Operator Scholarship Program and attend the ATTA Summit is truly awesome.”
The recipient of the 2016 Adventure Angels scholarship was Colibri Spanish School in Nicaragua. “I was so excited to win the Adventure Angel Abundance Scholarship in 2016. The opportunity brought me closer to the adventure travel industry and I was able to really appreciate how it works. The sessions helped me understand tourism from many different points of views and boosted my confidence in my own endeavor,” said owner Noelia Corrales. “My greatest accomplishments at the ATWS in Alaska were getting a new client and cultivating a strong bond with the adventure travel tribe.”