Sustainably Minded Adventurers Gather in Lugano

8th March 2023

The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) is a global organization that promotes responsible adventure travel and supports the growth of the adventure travel industry. It organizes the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), an annual event that brings together adventure travel professionals from around the world to network, learn, and exchange ideas. In July 2021, the ATTA announced that the 2022 ATWS would be held in Lugano, Switzerland from October 3-7, 2022.

Words Marc de Faoite

Human contact & connections

According to Shannon Stowell, CEO of the Adventure Travel Trade Association“It’s clear to us: We as an industry can’t do without international events. To actually shake hands – look into each other’s eyes. This kind of exchange is priceless and moves us forward because the business of travel relies heavily on trust.” Stowell went on to emphasize the value of holding the ATWS in a location that is easily accessible by clean and reliable public transportation and where attendees can immerse themselves in the local culture. He also highlighted the ATTA’s efforts to minimize the event’s environmental footprint by using sustainable venues and reducing single-use materials.

The ATWS in Lugano was a significant event for the adventure travel industry, attracting more than 750 delegates from around the globe and representing a variety of sectors within the industry. The Summit took place at the Palazzo dei Congressi, which is located in the heart of the city and offers a wide range of amenities and services. 

The theme of the Summit was sustainability in adventure travel, and the event focused on the four natural elements – air, water, fire, and earth – as a way to emphasize the importance of nature in the adventure travel industry. 

Attendees participated in educational sessions and adventures that explored the relationship between nature and adventure travel, and discussed ways to prioritize sustainability in the industry. These included presentations from industry experts, panel discussions, and interactive workshops. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to participate in off-site adventures that highlighted the natural beauty and adventure opportunities in the Ticino region.

Supportive Switzerland

“Switzerland Tourism, Ticino Turismo, and other organizations provided significant support for our event. This included assistance with logistics, marketing, and other aspects of the event, which was crucial in helping to make the Summit a success and showcasing the Ticino region as a premier destination for adventure travel,” said Stowell. Switerland Tourism and Ticino Turismo worked closely with the ATTA to promote the event and attract attendees from around the world. In addition, they provided support with logistics, including transportation and accommodation for attendees.  

Despite the fact ATTA had to implement health and safety measures, the ATWS in Lugano ticked all the boxes. The pandemic has had a significant impact on the industry, and many businesses and destinations have had to pivot and adapt to new challenges. ATWS allowed attendees to explore the challenges presented by the changing landscape of the adventure travel industry and exchange ideas on how to overcome them. 

Diversity & innovation

The event also provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about new and innovative products and services that can help them adapt to the changing landscape of the adventure travel industry.

The event attracted a diverse and international group of attendees, and provided a platform for meaningful discussions and exchanges of ideas on the future of adventure travel and sustainability, including climate action with the likes of Tomorrow’s Air as an example of the ability for anyone to make a difference, whether a traveller or a business. 

In addition to the educational sessions and networking opportunities, ATWS also featured keynote speakers who provided insights and inspiration on the theme of sustainability in adventure travel. These speakers included industry experts and thought leaders who shared their experiences and insights on the challenges and opportunities facing the adventure travel industry.

Tour Operator Marketplace

One of the key successes of ATWS was the Tour Operator Marketplace, which brought together a diverse group of businesses and destinations from around the world. The Marketplace provided an opportunity for tour operators to showcase their products and services, and for attendees to learn about new and exciting destinations for adventure travel. In addition, the MediaConnect session was thought out as a platform for attendees to pitch story ideas to over 40 international travel writers and editors. This was an opportunity for attendees to promote their businesses and destinations to a wider audience, and for media representatives to learn about new and innovative products and services in the adventure travel industry.

Another notable outcome of the ATWS in Lugano was the increased awareness of sustainability in adventure travel. The Summit focused on the importance of sustainability in the industry and provided a platform for attendees to discuss ways to prioritize environment-friendly initiatives in their businesses and destinations. The educational sessions and adventures gave attendees concrete examples of how to incorporate sustainability into their operations, and the keynote speakers provided inspiration and ideas for how to make a positive impact in the industry.

Stowell concluded: “The ATWS in Lugano was a successful and valuable event for the adventure travel industry. The support provided by Switzerland Tourism, Ticino Turismo, and other organizations was crucial in making the Summit a success, and the event provided a platform for meaningful discussions and exchanges of ideas.”

As the adventure travel industry continues to evolve and grow, the ATWS in Lugano will be remembered as a key moment in its development. 

More info on Switzerland as a convention destination: /

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