Travel Leaders and the Adventure Travel Trade Association Partner to Offer Exclusive Active & Adventure Travel Specialist Certification

19 May 2015

This exclusive partnership will provide Travel Leaders travel agents with a unique and valuable designation to help them better serve a growing number of active and adventure travelers.


Plymouth, MN — Travel Leaders (, America’s top retail travel agency brand with hundreds of locations through the United States, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA,, the globe’s largest professional association for the active and adventure travel space, proudly announce today that they have signed an exclusive, three-year agreement to create and execute a proprietary specialization program for Travel Leaders travel agents. Qualifying participants include both those Travel Leaders who already possess a level of expertise in this vital industry segment and those who wish to become more proficient at selling active and adventure travel in recognition of how it’s nearly tripled in size over the last five years.

Travel Leaders’ Active & Adventure Travel Specialists will be added to the ATTA consumer website (, providing qualified leads and new sales opportunities to agents specializing in this growing segment of the travel industry – adding to the successful, qualified leads already provided by Travel Leaders’ Agent Profiler. The new partnership will also include special invitations, exclusively for select Travel Leaders travel agents, to attend various ATTA conferences and events domestically and internationally, along with related adventure travel experiences pre- and post-conference.

The cornerstone of the collaboration is the exclusive specialist training program. Candidates in Travel Leaders’ Active & Adventure Travel Specialist program will have to complete modules that demonstrate a range of background and skills that Travel Leaders and ATTA jointly regard as prerequisites in order to be recognized as knowledgeable, respected specialists in this niche. The program and the full extent of the relationship between the two organizations is being announced at Travel Leaders’ Regional Meetings this month.

“By joining together with the ATTA, which is at the forefront of the active and adventure travel segment, our specialist program will provide our members with a unique, highly-valuable and industry-respected designation. Moreover, being able to view agent profiles on and the ATTA consumer website that highlight travel agent specializations and expertise, adventure travelers will have added peace of mind as they easily connect with Travel Leaders travel agents who have an incredible base of expertise and knowledge in these types of vacations,” said Mr. Roger E. Block, CTC, President of Travel Leaders Franchise Group. “In addition, together with the ATTA, we are building bridges with adventure travel destinations operators that will provide our clientele with greater access to customized experiences.”

“This partnership is well timed to set Travel Leaders’ specialists up for success as well as ATTA travel advisor members who choose to take part,” commented Mr. Shannon Stowell, President of the ATTA. “The adventure travel industry is now a $263 billion industry, compared to $89 billion in 2009. For several years now, we have been searching for a way to connect ATTA’s more than 1,000 members – including tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, and accommodations – with top travel agent professionals to cultivate the perfect experience for each client. This partnership is that answer and more. Now we will have connections to educated and vetted travel agents.”

While the active and adventure travel markets involve some level of physical activity, much of what encompasses the “active” niche includes soft adventure such as trekking, cycling, kayaking and culturally-immersive travel experiences. Extreme adventures such as skydiving, caving or mountaineering make up a much smaller, but important opposite end of the spectrum. Through the training, agents are required to become familiar with the various tours offered through adventure travel tour operators and the opportunities available in destinations well known for their active and cultural components.

The Travel Leaders Active & Adventure Travel Specialist program is modeled on the successful, existing Travel Leaders’ Luxury Travel Specialist and Honeymoon & Destination Wedding Specialist programs, and others offered via Travel Leaders’ Education & Training department. The ATTA currently offers AdventureEDU courses for tour operators, governments and associations seeking to deliver adventure travel experiences in a safe and sustainable practice. However, the exclusive, joint program with Travel Leaders will be the ATTA’s first educational program geared exclusively for travel agents.

Open to all Travel Leaders travel agents and affiliated Independent Contractors (ICs), participants will be required to complete a rigorous curriculum broken into seven modules. Some modules in this program may be approved third-party training modules such as destination specialist designations offered by various destination marketing organizations and specialist designations offered by active and adventure tour operators, cruise lines and properties that are associated with both Travel Leaders and the ATTA. Other requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Researching and reporting on market size, composition and trends in two verticals in the active and adventure travel space
  • Assessing products provided by current Travel Leaders active or adventure preferred supplier partners (tour, cruise, property)
  • Attending multiple ATTA webinars
  • Attending multiple Travel Leaders active/adventure travel supplier webinars
  • Attending, and reporting on, local active and adventure travel consumer shows/events
  • Participating in, and reporting about, active/adventure supplier familiarization trips
  • Applying to attend ATTA-hosted travel agent opportunities, including Adventure Travel World Summit, ATMEX (AdventureTravel Mexico), AdventureNEXT, and various AdventureWeeks in destinations worldwide
  • Creating an itinerary report using approved suppliers serving target destination
  • In-depth travel planning with recommendations for three provided case studies or actual examples from agent
  • Developing a comprehensive Active & Adventure Travel customer marketing plan
“Now is the perfect time for us to come together with the ATTA on this initiative. Travel Leaders travel agents who excel at planning active and adventure travel can take full advantage of Travel Leaders’ Agent Profiler to highlight their expertise with in-depth, online bios – attracting a larger segment of the traveling public interested in working with experts in this niche,” said Travel Leaders’ Vice President Perry Lungmus. “In addition, the members of the ATTA fit nicely with our successful In-Country Partners platform. We will be bringing on select new suppliers from the ATTA membership list to grow our relationships where necessary. Travel Leaders has the ideal infrastructure to support a large number of true niche suppliers based in key countries, in addition to the select multi-country tour operators and expedition cruise lines.”


Travel Leaders
Travel Leaders is transforming travel with a name that boldly embodies our commitment to our vacation and business travel clients via a progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. As one of America’s top ranked travel companies, Travel Leaders has assisted millions of travelers through our strong roots – the former Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, TraveLeaders and Tzell Travel Group joined together in 2008 to form one of the industry’s fastest-growing and robust networks of travel agents. Travel Leaders Franchise Group can trace its beginnings to 1984 as the franchise system “Ask Mr. Foster Travel,” which itself was North America’s first travel agency chain established in 1888.

Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 1,000 members in over 90 countries worldwide. Members predominantly include tour operators, tourism boards, specialty agents and accommodations with a vested interest in the sustainable development of adventure tourism. The ATTA delivers solutions and connections that propel members towards their business goals and the industry toward a responsible and profitable future. Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA excels in professional learning, networking and partnering services. With expertise in research, education, adventure travel industry news and promotion, members of the ATTA receive competitive opportunities that help establish them as leaders in adventure tourism. (