Six Things Travel Agents Need To Know About Adventure Travel
by Zach Laks
Six Things Travel Agents Need To Know About Adventure Travel


At the New York Times Travel Show in New York last week Casey Hanisko, VP of marketing and communications for the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), revealed research from an upcoming study that surveyed over 1,000 adventure travelers on what adventure travel meant to them. Here’s a handy round-up of the ATTA’s market research, as reported by Hanisko.
 

1. The global market value of adventure travel is growing rapidly.
The adventure travel industry grew from $89 billlion in 2009 to $263 billion in 2012, including data from  North America, South America and Europe.
 
2. Adventure travelers want a life-changing experience.
Travelers say that adventure travel provides: "A life-changing experience,” “personal growth and challenge,"  “a sense of accomplishment and achievement,” and “a feeling of gratitude and mindfulness.” In short, adventure travelers are looking for transformative experiences.
 
3. Adventure travelers’ cultural experiences result in an expanded world view.
When talking about the benefits of adventure travel, survey respondents they enjoyed: "seeing another part of the world that you are not used to…getting outside of what you're not used to seeing…seeing how another part of this huge world lives." We gain a wider perspective of the world, both personally and as a race of humans. We see other cultures and begin to understand how they view the world, from micro to macro views. A respondent added that “life should be lived, and adventures give us the greatest opportunity to live." Adventure travelers said that cultural understanding is of great importance, mentioning the key words of food, history and tolerance.
 
4. Adventure travelers want to learn.
Adventure travelers are looking for education, knowledge, insights, learning new skills, and wisdom. People don't just want to watch things anymore; they want to learn how to dance, how to build a home, how to make a tortilla or try an artist experience that's local to the region. Don’t try to educate your travelers and tell them why they should do something; just bring them along for the ride and make them do it. Don't offer eco/sustainable options; adventure travel always should be sustainable.
 
5. Adventure travelers want to escape their usual routine.
Adventure travelers look to claim some mental calm or peace. "Adventure travel allows me to expand or redefine my own limits and provides me ideas for what gives me the greatest pleasure and how I can best feel at peace in this crazy world." Common phrases include "escape, get out of routine, freedom, getaway, peace, relaxation." Build in the downtime to let customers appreciate nature.
 
6. Adventure travelers appreciate the social connection with other people.
In this world of in-person disconnect, as everybody has their phone and online connections, "relationships and people are the epitome of experiences." Personal benefits include these connections and meeting new people, social interaction, new friends and relationships.And through sharing an adventure, “friends instantly become family."
 
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is made up of 1,000 member companies in over 100 countries around the world. The companies are tour operators (inbound and outbound), travel agents, media that focus on adventure travel, destination management companies and tourism boards. ATTA educates, connects, networks, and through research aims to keep the trends of the industry in front of the trade, highlighting business solutions and opportunities. ATTA believes in adventure's power to create a long-term sustainable travel industry.

ATTA's next event is in Idaho this April.

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