Adventure Travel – the Future of Tourism

World tourism leaders have hailed adventure travel as the future of tourism, at the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, in October.

Taleb Rifai, the secretary-general of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), said, ‘Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow’.

As responsible tourism gains ground with tourists and the hospitality industry, the chief of travel for Google, Rob Torres, said that serious travel consumers are working towards more experience-based, responsible tourism.

Industry leaders from around 60 different countries attended the summit, of which 50 percent were travel industry buyers and sellers developing adventure travel products, with a representation from international media. Around 30 percent of delegates were from tourism boards, tourism ministries and destination marketing companies. The remaining delegates include academics, non-governmental organisations and industry partners.

Jurg Schmid, the chief executive officer of Switzerland Tourism, the tourism agency of the host country, said, ‘Switzerland is the original adventure and outdoor travel destination with a 150-year history in ‘adventure’ travel, as well as a promising future as a sustainable, accessible destination offering a wide range of adventures for many different skills and interest areas.’

Jonathan Dorn, the editor-in-chief of Backpacker Magazine, said of the summit, ‘The format of the Media Exchange led to quick, focused introductions to two dozen destinations and operators-an efficient smorgasbord of travel ideas that gave me enough detail to determine relevance for my publications. Later in the conference, I sought out several of the delegates for more in-depth conversations that will likely lead to coverage for them.’

This was the first-ever forum to bring leaders from sustainable tourism communities together to discuss ethics, problems, opportunities, and the best practices to adopt for indigenous tourism communities worldwide.