This forum was created with the participation of all the ATTA members. A questionnaire was distributed through the members and companies assisting the Adventure Travel World Summit. Of the 6 questions proposed the one selected was:
- Fire in the fireplace: How can we structure ourselves to be a force for good?
Forum Experts Included:
- Costas Christ – World Travel and Tourism Council
Costas Christ is an internationally recognized sustainable tourism expert whose work and travels have taken him to more than 100 countries across six continents, including expeditions to some of the world’s most remote wilderness areas and archaeological sites.
Costas is the Editor At Large for National Geographic Traveler and the former Global Travel Editor for National Geographic Adventure. He also writes the Go Green Travel Column for Virtuoso Life, in addition to serving as Virtuoso’s Director for Sustainability.
- Shanon Stowell – Adventure Travel & Trade Association
Shannon is President of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. Under his leadership, the organization has grown into the largest international association of adventure travel companies with more than 600 members and dozens of tourism boards, major corporations and influential individuals helping propel industry initiatives forward.
- Moe Carrick – Momentum Inc.
Moe Carrick enthusiastically loves to help leaders transform themselves and their companies. When she is not doing that, she loves to play outside in glorious Central Oregon and can often be found digging in her garden or running local trails.
In addition, Moe has woven a cohesive and provocative tapestry of personal leadership experiences, Fortune 100 consulting, academic and institutional learning, keynote addresses, authorship, strategic partnering, and masterful facilitation.
- Chris Doyle – Vice President, Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) & Editor, AdventureTravelNews™
Chris Doyle is a long-time enthusiast of adventure travel who’s gained immeasurable insights from the people he’s connected with on five continents, and the activities he’s experienced including whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, rock climbing, sky-diving, paragliding, backpacking, marathon running, sea kayaking, dog sledding, mountain biking and mountaineering.
Since 2004, Doyle has played a key role in Adventure Travel Trade Association’s strategic direction and development. In addition to overseeing content for www.AdventureTravelNews.com and www.Adventure.Travel, he’s primarily responsible for the ATTA’s research, marketing, public relations and communications initiatives, and directs the content and execution of ATTA’s annual Adventure Travel World Summit, regional meetings and professional development programs.
Business perspectives on sustainability are changing and not only because is the “right thing to do” but because it brings more economical value. We see an increasing trend towards being more sustainable. It’s true that no one is totally sustainable as nobody is perfect but there are every day more companies moving towards this line of action and seeing the real values of becoming every day more sustainable not only economically but socially and environmentally.
There are consumer changing trends. For example Wal-Mart is now the leading organic retailer but 5 years ago was going very badly and had some very bad publicity on the conditions of work. 5 years ago they responded to the market shift, it was a strategic position that they followed as they understood that 20 or 30% of the market share was too much to be ignored. For example all the IBEX companies report their triple bottom line, and have code of conducts.
The Millennium Development Goals if endorsed by the tourism sector can aid dramatically for the sustainable development of communities. One of the issues is that sustainability is very hard to define and it seems there are many interpretations. We need to work with communities and with applications to get to common grounds and definitions.
What can we do?
There are various opportunities for merging this paradox: development and sustainability. We have to be specific with business goals and sustainability, we need to encourage and promote sustainable practices, combine efforts and communicate them thorough all the means possible. Teach the adventure traveler about sustainability principles. Never give false expectations, do not say you do more than what you really do, be transparent and responsible. Do not blow thing out of proportions.
Growth and Sustainability Paradox:
- Adventure travel has grown in expense of other travel sectors.
- Local travel is more sustainable.
- Important to promote residents about sustainable practices
- WTTC is meeting with ATTA to develop the best practices on sustainable tourism and sustainable content.
Finally Chris Doyle, representative of the ATTA, talks about the sustainable tourism council and how it promotes sustainable practices. We are asked if we want to include sustainability criteria as necessary for members of the ATTA. The vote results in a very mixed voting.
One solution is to include badges on the profile of companies that follow sustainability criteria and make them visible in the ATTA Hub. (Social Network) This will provide visibility to those companies which carry sustainable practices and will not be a limiting factor to those who want to become new members.
We have a great responsibility in the adventure travel sector, which is to balance the development and sustainability!
How do you think adventure travel could aid in this balance?