Our 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit blends the best elements of the nine past Summits. We gain more time together in intimate settings to learn, partner and grow, all while gaining progressive insights from keynote speakers in plenary that will inspire our collective investment in the future of responsible adventure tourism.
The Summit will strike a balance between high-impact, inspirational presentations for the entire delegation with facilitated peer-to-peer collaboration, business-to-business marketplace, delegate-media exchange and interactive learning workshops on real-world case studies – plus, ample time for open social engagement, mixers and networking.
Below is a selection of 2013 Keynotes. Stay tuned, more coming soon.
Wonder Never Gets Old: Making Adventure Vital in a Newly Open World
For every one overseas traveler in 1960, there are now 40. We can see the remotest parts of Tibet and Antarctica from our living rooms, on our smartphones. Everywhere we go, we’re greeted by YouTube and McDonald’s. And yet, in the age of global accessibility, the face-to-face encounter grows ever more precious—and necessary—and every meeting with a foreign place upends our every stereotype.
How best to find new treasures on a planet ever more crowded with other travelers, how to recast adventure so we’re always wide awake, how to bring something positive to our destinations, so they can accommodate the world while still remaining themselves? In this keynote talk, we’ll try to imagine new ways of making travel vital in the age of crowds and BlackBerrys and think about everything foreigners can bring to the places we visit so as to sustain them as well as ourselves.
Requiem or Anthem?
What happens when there are no more fish? What happens to an island after its 400 year-old, one-industry economy collapses because there are no more fish? Zita Cobb tells the story of Fogo Island – an island off an island – located in the Labrador Current, off the Northeast Coast of Newfoundland. It is a story of community tenacity and of business innovation and social entrepreneurship as islanders look for new ways in an old continuity. It is also a story of modernity, of art, of fish, of tourism; it is a story of longing and belonging…of finding new ways with old things.
There is not an unblemished destination on our planet free from troubles caused by natural disaster or humans. Shaping tourism in the aftermath of turbulent times is a daunting endeavor requiring exceptional vision, patience, resilience, (com)passion and serious conviction. To provide hope, a framework and a path to recovery for adventure tourism communities worldwide who face similar challenges, we will hear first person raw accounts, sometimes painful, from our colleagues who have endured much in recent times. From opposite sides of the world – the former Yugoslavia and Colombia – these case studies will illustrate how they are creating long term peace and prosperity through adventure travel.
The Return of the Balkans
Despite its communist status, back in the day, Yugoslavia was a prime holiday destination. People came to this Adriatic nation to lounge on its beaches, ski its mountains and sample Mediterranean fare with a decidedly southern-Slav twist. Of course, most of us just remember the 1990s. That’s when the country disintegrated into a vicious civil war that cast a shadow over the region. Those days are numbered, though. Despite the hardships, suffering and lasting prejudices, the peoples of the Balkans today have a new will and ability to capitalize on their holiday heritage. Yugoslavia today is now seven countries, each with its own stories to tell and distinctive identities. If “peace works better than conflict,” as the former U.S. President Bill Clinton said about the Balkans earlier this year, how do we heal such fresh wounds and create a better understanding in the Balkans of what travelers seek? How can travel foster mutual respect, promote environmental standards and lead to a sustainable industry in a land of hardscrabble economics?
We will hear the stories of three young and pioneering adventure travel entrepreneurs from Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro who will offer their own personal and professional experiences about what they endured and are now contributing to this dynamic region facing tremendous change.
Peace in a Post-war, Post-cartel Colombia
Military conflict in Colombia has decreased substantially in the last few years and the signing of a peace treaty between military factions, paramilitary groups and the Colombian government seems imminent. The historic violence in the country since the 1960s had only fueled the development of illegal activities such as the drug trade, which generated cash used to fuel more violence. Today, a new generation of Colombians is en route to live life in a post-war, post-cartel country. One industry that is flourishing is adventure travel. Colombians themselves, along with the rest of the world, are “discovering” a country which had been essentially unreachable for the last two generations. Former fighters or victims of conflict are now discovering a new way of life, and tourism is becoming a catalyst for one of the nation’s most viable and sustainable economic solution.
Individuals once directly involved the war and the drug trade will come to tell their stories of transformation and illustrate how the power of tourism has become as a catalyst for peace in this country with vast natural and cultural wealth, which has remained untapped for over 40 years.
Kirsi has been leading and consulting on change processes, sustainable tourism, organizational development, brand management and marketing since the mid-1990s. Beginning in 2006, she started working for Montenegro’s National Tourism Organization, focusing on sustainable development, capacity building, diversification, marketing and business development and advising. In her role, Kirsi is working in the Steering Group of “Peaks of the Balkans” – a cross-border project between Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro, which this year received the WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Stewardship Award.
Tomi Ćorić comes to us bringing a tale of tourism industry development in the countries that formerly were Yugoslavia. In Dubrovnik, Croatia, Tomi saw first hand the re-building of a tourism infrastructure from the ground up: roads, buildings, airports… everything. As tourism grew it appeared as a faint memory of a better time before the war. But out of these struggles, Tomi helped forge a community that embraced the idea that a country’s border is purely abstract: that a mountain or a lake know no boundaries and nor should the confines of our travel. With a rich history within hotels, travel agencies and his own tour operation named Viator Travel — which provides outdoor tours and programs for small groups and operates tourism that fosters principles of responsible tourism — Tomi is well prepared to share his perspective of tourism growing and thriving despite its troubled past.
Jure founded Adventure Slovenia in 2007. “I have always held a deep appreciation for my region and have always been an avid adventurer myself. After working several years in adventure travel and tourism, I decided to combine my passion with business and create a new top travel company in Slovenia.” From the beginning, Jure’s principal goal has been to create an environment in which travelers can enjoy tailor made small group adventures highlighting Slovenian nature, gastronomy and entertainment. His experience ranges from an ingrained cultural understanding of the historical sites to his specialty in adventure travel. Inspired by seven years of certified outdoor leadership, Jure continues to enjoy the thrills of paragliding, scuba diving, surfing, backcountry skiing and hiking as often as he can. “My true passion and source of pleasure is firmly rooted in this part of the Balkans.”
Boris Jablan founded 3E Travel in 2007 in his native country Montenegro. His company involves a multi-country community into the creation of a whole chain of services that allows the company to give back. By involving the local people, it has given them economic opportunities as well as cultural interactions that benefit the communities as well as the visitors. From the beginning, much of his effort has been focused on improving cross-border cooperation between Montenegro and the neighboring countries through developing joint tourism projects, such as pioneering a cross-border trek between Albania and Montenegro. Encouraged by the rural communities on both sides of the border, Boris and his team continued and created the first functional cross-border hiking itinerary that has become one of the adventure travel highlights in the Western Balkans.