We set form the shire of la Vera on the Sunday morning to Madrid. We are excited by the experience we are about to embark, we leave to Scotland on our flight and even though we are delayed two hours inside the plane because one of the crew members has too many flight hours and has to be replaced, we eventually reach Edinburg airport. It is night time and we still have to drive to Aviemore at the north of Scotland where the summit is held. We eventually arrive at the Macdonald complex at 11.00 pm! Long first day but very excited to finally be there!
Monday 4th October.
After we have registered and been given our identification we set out to the auditorium for the opening ceremony. First day is activity day and we have chosen the tour Aviemore Adventure.
The activities are to create a sense of community and partnership in the summit. All members have been given the possibility to participate in order for new member like us to get to know some of the colleagues in the industry.
Some of the activities included where;
- Wild Class White Water Rafting
- Canoeing and Whisky Tour
- Sea Kayaking (Dolphins)
- Gorge Walking
- Sailing on Loch
- Wildlife Tours
- Cairngorms Golf
- Hill walking, Orienteering
- Red Dear stalking
- Loch Ness Walk and Boat Trip
- Skyline Mountain Walk
- Aviemore adventure
- Land and Sustainability management of Estate.
- Among others.
Before we leave to our adventures we have the opening ceremony. This is a great opportunity for Scotland to promote their adventure tourism based on experiences. There are more than 25 activities planned and it’s a great opportunity to meet tour-operators, reservation and booking agents, media and experts from the sector.
Our activity was Aviemore adventure and consisted on a walking / trekking trip through the Glenmore forest of until we reach the Loch Morlich. This was a great experience where we walked through the forest which is a remnant of the Caledonian Forest near Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. This native Scottish forest transports you to your childhood and thanks to the good weather that accompanied us we could see the beginning of the autumn with the changing colors of the trees.
Finally we arrive at the Loch Morlich, one of the many lakes that can be found in the area in between the hill landscape that can be found in the park. After a quick chat and explaining some of the basics of canoeing we set to cross the lake. At mid day we have lunch on one of the banks of the lake.
We are able to paddle our way to the other side of the Loch, from where we cycled back to Aviemore. On the way back we crossed some very nice tracks through the Scottish forest, stopping at another Loch where we could see an old construction in the middle of the lake. It seemed an old castle which used to have a passage before the level of the Loch was risen.
Very nice adventure, we had a great time and meet some really good people who have very similar of looking at life and what is really important. Hope that the connections that we made this day continue and that the things we set out to accomplish in sustainable tourism become a reality. Thank you to the Active Outdoor Pursuits team that made this tour possible!
At the end of the day we are brought back to the auditorium of the MacDonald Aviemore Resort.
Back at the Conference centre:
Shannos Stowell, ATTA President, welcomes us to the 7th adventure travel world summit in Aviemore, Scotland.
“… in this digital age, where social media, mobile connectivity and online meetings define much of our interaction, the ATTA still firmly believe that to come together, shake hands, laugh, debate and deepen friendships through personal human interaction creates more progress and lasting relationship that matter that any electronic alternative can offer”.
He puts forward the idea that we are selling experiences and that it is the time to use this opportunity and get the best of this summit.
“This event is about education, knowledge, sharing, inspiration and relationship building through work and fun”.
“This event promotes adventure travel business grow and thrive responsibly. The group of collaborators is a group for good, bringing much needed revenue to local economies around the world and turning customer’s into lifelong advocates of responsible tourism practices”.
After the opening speech, there are several special presentations:
Adventure travel is defined as activities in the outdoors with specific interest to maintaining the cultural heritage and economically developing remote regions. (People, Planet & Profit)
From Armageddon to Utopia … Business as Unusual
“Costas Christ is an award-winning travel writer and Editor at Large for National Geographic Traveler. He is one of the world’s pioneers of ecotourism (he helped to officially define the term) and is an internationally renowned expert in sustainable tourism, traveling to over 100 countries, including some of the most remote wilderness areas and archeological sites on Earth, home to vanishing cultures and endangered species”.
Shows us through a very compelling video how adventure tourism and discovering new areas has also the risk of destroying them. Tries to give a wakeup call to all of us on the dangers and the need of the industry to work together to try to develop regions in a sustainable manner in order to not repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
From his 30 years of experience he sees the future of tourism focusing on authenticity, sustainability, (travel good), experience, interactive experience which he defines as:
- “Travel as unusual / green travel”.
Some interesting examples he gives includes;
- Airport that uses the movement of the people within the building to get their planes as the source of renewable energy.
- The underwater hotel build as skyscraper upside down where the bottom will bne used for marine research and it will be powered with wind, tidal and solar energy.
Dr Wallace “J” Nichols. has undertaken the task of reaching new constituencies with a positive and inclusive conservation message and building a network of like-minded people, from diverse regions, backgrounds and careers who share a commitment to maintaining abundant life in the oceans and on the coasts.
He is a Scientist, activist and above all a father with a deep connection with nature.
In his speech he works on the idea that the sector and the different agents, touroperators, town councils, private companies have to work together and collaborate to create lifelong lasting relations to help develop the world.
“J” and Costas end up with the song “All you need is Love” from the Beatles.
“John Kasaona (conservationist) is a pioneer of community-based conservation — working with the people who use and live on fragile land to enlist them in protecting it.”
He brought the inspiration that there all also good case studies of conservation in Africa and in his case in Namibia. The achievement he describes comes from the transformation of poachers into conservation agents for the conservation of the Rhino. All of this thanks to empowering the local community and learning how to listen to the local needs.
Very good example of sustainable tourism outside protected areas can bring development to regions and countries.
Better to hear him explain it:
“Judith Fein, award-winning travel journalist, photographer, filmmaker and teacher, has contributed to over 80 publications and is a regular travel columnist for three”.
New Yorker Judy, tried to teach us that everyone is creative, from 15-85 years. Creativity is important to achieve new ways of living! She put forward the idea that “because everybody thinks it does not work it doesn’t make it real”.
We ended up all dancing on the auditorium!
Music, Shinding, Kilt, every one enjoying the traditional food!
Sponsors: MACDONALD Aviemore Resort / Visit Scotland /Cairngorms National Park, The Highland Council!
This is just the first day at the Adventure travel World Summit!! I will continue with the description of the strategic alliances, seminar and lectures and future trends of the sector in future posts!