In April 2015, Iceland engaged the ATTA to conduct an AdventureEDU program that would provide a baseline from which to continue building the country’s adventure tourism market in a coordinated way, with an emphasis on safety. Participants included Icelandic and Greenlandic adventure travel providers. The Faroe Islands also lent their intellectual and philosophic support, but unfortunately could not attend due to a conflict in schedules with their own tourism event under way this week.
The ATTA presented a two session AdventureEDU event. The first day was dedicated to Adventure Community Building; the second day focused on Safety and Risk Management for Adventure Travel Companies. The Adventure Community Building program emphasizes developing relationships and cohesion, and aligning on priorities to advance the adventure travel economy. The Safety and Risk program addresses why such management systems are central to business success, and provides step-by-step guidance for companies on implementing such a program.
The workshop was facilitated by Moe Carrick, ATTA AdventureEDU instructor, and founder of Moementum, a boutique consulting firm, and ATTA’s Chris Doyle, Executive Director – Europe, and Ulrika Larsson, Partnerships Lead – Europe.
As a result of the two-day training participants gained awareness of:
Representatives from both public and private sectors agreed to some concrete actions in the short term and volunteers stepped up to drive each initiative including:
“On behalf of NATA (North Atlantic Tourism Association – which represents Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands), I am very excited to see Greenland and Iceland together at an event such as this. Adventure tourism has been growing tremendously in the region and is indeed the main definition of what tourism in the region stands for. Adventure tourism’s commitment to sustainability issues, quality of services and community connections are also important strategic factors here in the West Nordic region and provide the basis of our visions towards the future development of the industry.”
“Iceland’s strengths as a destination have always been its extraordinary nature, its diversity of natural phenomena, the accessibility of its wildernesses and the Icelanders’ hospitality. This is what attracts our visitors, but these are also the areas where our challenges lie, since they are all routed in the promise of offering an authentic experience in an extremely sensitive environment. The rapid growth of tourism these past years puts pressure on the industry and indeed the society as a whole to behave responsibly and plan a strategy that forms a sound basis for the sustainable future development of the industry.”
Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir
Director General, Iceland Tourism Board (who in addition to her role with Iceland serves as a board member of NATA)
“Yesterday’s Community Builder workshop was a great success, moving adventure tourism in the North Atlantic many steps closer to an active cooperation. Participants reflected different stakeholders, ranging from public organizations to tour operators of all types and sizes. Although some major stakeholders were not attending, this dedicated group still formed a good cross-section of adventure tourism in the region. The energy was vibrant as participants spoke very openly about their hopes and concerns, creating an atmosphere of solidarity. The main focus was on the viability of adventure tourism companies through quality and sustainability. Participants all agreed that the sector needed to start working together, building a strong voice towards policy makers and markets. One of the next steps decided upon was the establishment of an organized interest group for adventure tourism companies and organizations in the North Atlantic. Representatives of the Icelandic Tourist Board and Visit Greenland suggested a 2-3 year development project to lay the groundwork, also offering to assist the group with creating a project outline and moving the idea forward in terms of practical matters. What a great result and what a productive day!”
Hrafnhildur Ýr Víglundsdóttir
Project Manager for Regional Development for the Icelandic Tourist Board