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UNWTO and Adventure Travel Trade Association Sign Agreement to Advance Adventure Tourism Globally

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Secretary General Rifai of the UNWTO and President of the ATTA, Mr. Shannon Stowell sign agreement during ITB Berlin.

Seattle, WA – March 11, 2014 – The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) signed a new partnership agreement on March 7, 2014, during Corporate Social Responsibility Day at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest tourism trade fair. At the crux of the agreement are precedent-setting initiatives dedicated to enhancing the understanding of and professionalization of the global adventure travel sector.

Over the next two years UNWTO, the UN specialized agency for tourism, and the ATTA, an association dedicated to the professionalization and responsible growth of the adventure travel industry worldwide, will collaborate to conduct an economic impact study to analyze the rapidly growing adventure tourism sector and its potential impact on regional communities. The two organizations will also tackle matters concerning definitions, market size and trends, education/training, and standards and guideline development activities specifically concerning adventure travel.

Signatories to the new Memorandum of Understanding included Secretary General Mr. Taleb Rifai of the UNWTO and ATTA President Mr. Shannon Stowell.

“We have been following closely what ATTA has been doing in the area of research and training and we are very happy to strengthen our relationship with this commitment,” said Secretary General Rifai.

The new agreement enhances the relationship between the public and private organizations which was first officially established in October 2012 at the ATTA Adventure Travel World Summit in Switzerland.

“The UNWTO’s commitment is further fueling destination and private sector interest in understanding and pursuing this specialized form of tourism,” stated ATTA President Mr. Stowell. “The economic impact study will provide data allowing us to measure definitely the role adventure tourism plays in responsible tourism development.”

Specific, first-time projects to be implemented under the agreement include:

  • Joint UNWTO Affiliate Members report on Adventure Tourism;
  • Definition of standards and guidelines in Adventure Tourism;
  • Research on the economic impact of Adventure Tourism on local communities/regions

The UNWTO and the ATTA will continue their two-year partnership on regional courses on Adventure Tourism through the ATTA’s AdventureEDU program in collaboration with the UNWTO Themis Foundation. Plus, the UNWTO and the ATTA have agreed to pursue joint efforts to bring together global decision makers and organizations from the public and private sectors to advocate for responsible tourism development through special events and speaking engagements.

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Adventure Travel Trade Association
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) serves more than 900 members in 80 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. (

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