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Published on : Wednesday, November 13, 2013
During the October 26-31, 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) in Namibia, multiple announcements of long-term investments by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and its partners – World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), Save The Rhino Trust, Power Namibia Project, Namibia Tourism Board and Tourism Ireland – were made to ensure the continuation of responsible development of the adventure tourism industry in Africa and beyond.
“The Summit this year brought the ATTA to a new level,” said Mr. Shannon Stowell, ATTA President.“ It was our first Summit in Africa and also the first Summit where we were able to dive deeply into a host destination’s adventure travel opportunities as a model for investment and implementation around the world.”
Featured presentations during the Summit included inspiring talks by: noted author Pico Iyer; Zita Cobb, visionary behind the Shorefast Foundation; Anna Pollock, strategist and developer of the concept of Conscious.Travel; and Chief Ian Campbell, Hereditary Chief of the Squamish Nation in Canada, sparked delegates’ imaginations to think differently about destinations and tourism business opportunities. Namibia’s communal conservancies were a central point of discussion and an example of how governments, local communities and private enterprise can create profitable, joint venture economic models that also place a premium on respect and protection of people and the environment.
New long-term investments by the ATTA and its partners announced during the Summit included:
Ireland’s Ambassador to Zambia and Namibia, announced that Tourism Ireland, as the host of the upcoming ATWS in 2014 will partner with Namibia Tourism Board and the ATTA to support the development of a Guide Program that will enable five Namibian guides and five Irish guides to participate in a program that will facilitate shared understanding for delivering high quality adventure experiences to a variety of guests and clients. The guides will spend time with adventure operators in both Ireland and Namibia as part of the training. The experience and outcomes will be shared at the 2014 ATWS and will form a basis for ongoing training and development within the ATTA community.
Fittingly, keynote speaker Iyer, who had not attended a previous Summit, reflected on the Summit and said, “What I hadn’t expected was to meet people with such boundless energy and warmth, who could bring such a positive and forward-looking spirit to all the trials and joys of being on the road. And people with such rigor and conscience that they’re ready to question themselves, and the very nature of the travel we so love, and to look long and hard at the always difficult business of turning simple adventure into something useful, practical and lasting, not least for the people we visit.”
The 10th ATWS was held in Windhoek and Swakopmund, Namibia. Through a series of featured presentations, educational workshops, and intensive networking and peer-to-peer sessions, the Summit delivered on its “imagine. inspire. invest.” theme. 650 delegates attended the Summit representing tour operators, destinations, media and industry professionals from 63 countries around the world.
In addition to fueling the collaborations and investments in conservation and environmental protection put in motion in Namibia, the ATTA recently announced that Ireland secured the bid to serve as host to the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), the adventure tourism industry’s marquee annual executive gathering, between October 6-9 in Killarney.