Global Adventure Tourism Report

UNWTO Executives
Strategic Travel Media

Adventure tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of the market. And it's no longer the exclusive province of backpack-toting twenty-somethings. Boomers, families and luxury travelers are all interested in more active, immersive vacations. It's part of the overall increase in authentic travel. 

Recognizing that the landscape has changed when it comes to adventure travel, two prominent organizations joined forces on a groundbreaking study.

The UNWTO and the Adventure Travel Trade Association collaborated on the UNWTO Global Report on Adventure Tourism.

The report is the first-ever overview by the UNWTO on the topic of adventure tourism. Among other things, it offers some interesting insights into the close relation between adventure tourism and responsible tourism.

ATTA is a highly-regarded travel trade association and a UNWTO Affiliate Member. It's credited with raising the profile of adventure travel in the media and within the industry. The global membership organization is comprised of 1,000 tour operator, government, NGO and service provider members.

ATTA provided key input for the report, in an effort to increase awareness of the core values of responsible tourism. One of the goals of the report is to provide all tourism stakeholders with a common base of understanding one of the most progressive forms of tourism. Both organizations believe the report will help develop industry standards.

Of course, another goal is to increase adventure travel.

“This report provides critical insight into one of the most dynamic segments driving tourism´s growth,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai. “Furthermore, with careful and responsible management, adventure tourism offers effective development opportunities to countries looking for new and sustainable sources of growth.”

The report offers an eight-chapter overview of the current adventure tourism industry, a history of adventure tourism as well as a discussion of trends and timely issues. Chapters include:

  • Industry introduction
  • Global Trends in Adventure Tourism
  • Adventure Tourism Industry Structure
  • Local Economies, Communities and the Environment
  • Adventure Tourism Operational Standards and Certifications
  • Risk Management in Adventure Tourism
  • Sector Challenges, Opportunities and Initiatives

“This report signifies UNWTO's recognition of adventure tourism's contribution to the sustainable future of tourism,” said ATTA president Shannon Stowell, who provided a summary for the report. “It provides a background underlining the potential for destinations around the globe that are looking for ways to create sustainable economic tourism models protecting people and places.”

Contributors to the report include industry specialists Natasha Martin and Keith Sproule, and Christina Beckmann and Nicole Petrak of ATTA. Also featured are several UNWTO partners and Affiliate Members offering topical perspectives. The report can be downloaded from the UNWTO or the ATTA website.

In addition to the initiatives mentioned above, UNWTO and the ATTA embarked on a partnership to provide regional courses on Adventure Tourism. The courses are provided through the ATTA’s Adventure EDU programme in collaboration with the UNWTO.Themis Foundation.

More about ATTA

Established in 1990, the ATTA is a privately held, for-profit industry trade group that serves to network, educate, professionalize and promote the adventure travel industry.

The organization serves members in more than 80 countries worldwide. 

The business objective of ATTA is to promote networking, collaboration, services, events, advocacy, educational programs and resources to benefit the global adventure travel community. 

Through its regional AdventureConnect events and annual Adventure Travel World Summit trade conference, the ATTA provides 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.

More about the UNWTO

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 156 countries, 6 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 400 Affiliate Members.