AdventureNEXT Balkans focuses on creating and nurturing strong business-to-business partnerships within the greater Balkans region, which includes 12 destinations in Southeastern Europe, and connecting these destinations with leading international buyers and journalists from priority source markets. AdventureNEXT Balkans provides key stakeholders throughout the region’s supply chain with the inspiration, tools, professional resources and network to assist in its responsible tourism development. The regional conference concurrently provides visiting buyers and journalists with unprecedented destination expertise, insights, and access to influential partners from the region. AdventureNEXT Balkans event offers the opportunity to explore and experience the Balkans on 3- to 5-day Pre- and Post-Adventures that will be offered and run by the region’s top quality tour operators. All fully hosted buyers and media (Buyer & Media Application – Click Here) are required to participate to Pre-Adventures and advised to experience Post-Adventures too. The actual AdventureNEXT Balkans starts with a “Day of Adventure,” giving attendees the opportunity to connect and network with other delegates while experiencing Macedonia. The two conference days that follow include educational sessions, inspirational speakers and networking events, a B2B MARKETPLACE, meals and entertainment. Especially for international buyers and media, specialized content and activity will help to bring this part of Europe front and center.
Q: How is this event different from other ATTA events such as Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) and Adventure Travel Mexico (ATMEX)?
ATWS is a four- to five-day event for 700+ delegates with a global delegation representing between 50 to 65 different countries. Content at ATWS covers a broader array of educational content with the specific purpose to steer the industry toward pushing the limits and creating change.ATMEX is a two day event with the MARKETPLACE focused on in-country suppliers in Mexico and educational content specific to educating buyers and suppliers as well as destination management organizations.AdventureELEVATE is a business-to-business event focused towards adventure tourism businesses and media active in developed markets. A majority of the attendees will come from businesses located in North America and Western Europe and the content will be geared towards their business needs and trends. Like all ATTA events, AdventureNEXT Balkans will feature educational content but the content of the conference will focus on highlighting the potential of the region to become well-known for its commitment to responsible, sustainable, authentic and adventure tourism.
Q: Who should register to attend AdventureNEXT?
Ground suppliers: AdventureNEXT Balkans is the event where you will:
have the opportunity to learn from leading adventure travel professionals and be exposed to current trends in the industry;
find new partners – with international buyers as well as from the neighboring region; and
grow personally, as a business and as a destination, in general.
International buyers: AdventureNEXT Balkans is the event where you will:
learn from the locals and the experts about the most special and exciting experiences that the wider Balkans region has to offer;
find new partners – with ground suppliers as well as other leading international industry representatives; and
have the opportunity to grow your business
Journalists: AdventureNEXT Balkans is the event where you will:
learn from the locals about the hidden and most special places around the Balkans region and you can be the one to tell the story about them, all while learning the latest trends, research and global findings in the world of adventure tourism to help inform your travel writing and reporting;
find new partners – through the multiple networking and exchange opportunities you will have the chance to identify new contacts; and
grow and expand your knowledge base and understanding of the region to add depth to your writing.
Governmental and development institutions: AdventureNEXT Balkans is the event where you will:
learn about the tremendous opportunities for local economic impact, trans-border partnerships, and adventure travel as a force of good to preserve and protect cultures and the environment worldwide;
find new partnerships – with other governmental, media, and private sector businesses and organizations (e.g., individuals, experts in travel, safety, economy, marketing, etc.); and
grow your understanding of a new era of responsible leisure tourism, specifically how economic growth can be achieved using the principles of adventure tourism.
There is room for 300 delegates to attend the first AdventureNEXT Balkans. We seek a mix of Southeastern Europe-based tour operators and travel advisors, media, industry partners, as well as national and regional tourism boards, and destination management companies and development agencies. We anticipate the delegation to include approximately 45 international buyers and 20 travel media representatives. ATTA members receive a registration discount and non-member adventure travel industry representatives are invited to apply for the special registration and membership package.
Q: Why the Balkans?
Since 2013 the ATTA has engaged in efforts throughout the Balkans to support multi-country initiatives. The ATTA’s involvement in the region has played a central role in stimulating a new climate of cooperation, resulting in a demonstrated and growing momentum and healthy networking amongst the government bodies, donor agencies and tourism stakeholders involved in the sustained efforts to develop a responsible adventure tourism industry throughout the Balkans. The ATTA recognizes that the countries of this region are dedicated to working together to enhance the accessibility to their inherent cultural and natural assets, ensure the safety and security of incoming travelers and strengthen the region’s commitment to quality, professionalism and service delivery, with a goal of attracting a whole new era of international arrivals. For these reasons, the Balkans has been selected to host the first regional adventure tourism conference in Europe.
Q: Why Macedonia and the greater Balkans region?
Macedonia is quickly gaining a reputation among travelers and the adventure tourism industry for a destination that offers pristine mountains, lakes, wildlife, traditional and delicious cuisine and wine, a proud culture and heritage, generous locals, a range of activities from trekking and paragliding to biking and cooking classes. The New York Times, Outside, Wanderlust and Huffington Post have all designated Macedonia a place adventurous travelers need to visit now, and the World Economic Forum ranked Macedonia as the 4th most welcoming country in the world. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in the beginning of 2015, Macedonia recorded the fastest growth in foreign visitors compared to other European countries. Macedonia’s forecast for the busy summer season of 2015 is that growth in tourism will exceed 10 percent. But there is still work to do, which is why Macedonia’s Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism (www.macedonia-timeless.com), led by its director, Kristijan Dzambazovski, has committed to a progressive, multi-year plan to support responsible adventure tourism development. The Agency has tapped the ATTA to be its key partner in helping to build Macedonia’s adventure travel industry and brand, while supporting trans-border cooperation and regional branding for the Balkan region to attract international visits. Further, the 11 other destinations (featured immediately below in the next question) also are capturing worldwide interest for their position as a vital crossroads of culture, environmentally compelling features, and re-emergence as an increasingly interesting region for leisure tourism.
Q: Which destinations will be featured at AdventureNEXT Balkans?
AdventureNEXT Balkans conference content, exchanges and adventures are expected to feature the 12 greater Balkan destinations:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Q: What does the registration fee include?
Your paid AdventureNEXT registration includes:
Entrance to AdventureNEXT Balkans (May 10, 11 and 12, 2016) activities, Day of Adventure participation on May 10 – including transportation, adventure activity, equipment (if needed) and lunch
Access to all AdventureNEXT Balkans plenary and breakout sessions, May 11-12
Free transfers to and from the airport on scheduled days
Q: What is not included in the registration fee?
MARKETPLACE Tables for Suppliers – MARKETPLACE is a half-day event (see below for more information); sign-ups are on a first-come first-serve basis.
Lodging/Hotels – In Ohrid there are accommodations ranging from five-star hotels to two- and three-star hostels. Macedonia’s Agency for Promotion and Support of Tourism will secure a range of hotels at discounted rates for AdventureNEXT Balkans delegates. Most hotels will be within a 20-minute walk to where the conference sessions will take place. Free shuttle transfers will also be provided. Please check back for specific hotel information so you can book your accommodations directly with the hotel.
Flights/Airfare – Flights are not included in the registration fee. Please review the Traveler Information page for airport information.
Pre- and post-AdventureNEXT Balkans Adventures (see below for more information).
Q: Will there be a MARKETPLACE at AdventureNEXT Balkans?
Yes, there will be a half-day MARKETPLACE that will include pre-set appointments. Please see “MARKETPLACE Q&A” below for more information.
Q: Will there be a Day of Adventure at AdventureNEXT Balkans?
Yes, the registration cost includes an adventure activity, transportation, equipment (if needed) and lunch for a full-day trip in Macedonia. ATTA tour operator members in Macedonia are currently finalizing the itineraries, which will be posted soon so registered delegates can choose their activity.
Q: Will there be Pre- and Post-AdventureNEXT Adventures at AdventureNEXT Balkans?
Macedonia and partnering Southeastern Europe countries are encouraging all delegates to arrive early and/ or stay late in the region to experience and enjoy first-hand one of the incredible Pre/ POST-Adventures on offer. The 3- to 5-day Adventures are reserved for registered delegates (and paid guests) at a discounted rate (rates include accommodations, activities and meals through duration of the adventures — unless specifically noted in trip description). All fully hosted buyers and media (Buyer & Media Application – Click Here) are required to participate to Pre-Adventures and advised to experience POST adventures too. Please note, there are a limited number of hosted places (accommodations, activities and meals are covered) being held on the adventures. These spots are specifically for international buyers seriously looking at the Balkans as a possible future offering and those looking at expanding their existing Southeastern European program. Media with a serious intent and ability to publish stories about the featured Balkans destinations will also be considered. Delegates are encouraged to register to participate at the Pre- and POST-adventures (at their own expense) as this is one of the multiple opportunities for them to interact with some of the participating international tour operators and media, and to establish new potential partnerships from Southeastern Europe. Application forms will be posted soon for those who would like to apply for one of these hosted spots. Please note that each application is subject to approval and availability. Buyers and media who are offered and accept one of these complimentary places will be interviewed afterwards about their experiences and are required to participate in MARKETPLACE. Applicants who are not approved for the hosted spots are still invited to attend at the delegate discounted rate. For those who are not buyers or media, discounted adventure rates are available. Detailed adventure itineraries and registration information are expected to be posted by November 2015.
Q: Do I book my hotel accommodations through AdventureNEXT Balkans?
No. Please book your accommodations directly with a hotel in Ohrid. A selection of partner hotels offering discounts to AdventureNEXT Balkans delegates is expected to be posted by the beginning of January 2016.
Q: What is the cancellation policy for accommodations?
Please check with your hotel for their cancellation policy.
Q: Are there any airline discounts?
Not at this time, but please check the Traveler Information page before booking your flight as Macedonia is hoping to secure airline discounts for registered delegates. The ATTA and the host destination continue to actively pursue airline discounts.
Q: Will AdventureNEXT Balkans be an annual event?
Current plans call for the AdventureNEXT Balkans to be a bi-annual event, with a different Southeastern Europe country hosting every two years. Macedonia will host the inaugural event in 2016.
Q: What is MARKETPLACE like?
MARKETPLACE is an intimate environment that works to connect both suppliers and buyers. Similar to “speed dating” with an emphasis on quality over quantity, your MARKETPLACE experience will be made up of a series of roughly 10-minute meetings and will provide a great atmosphere for introductions, learning about new opportunities and engaging in product development discussions.
Q: As a supplier, how can I secure a MARKETPLACE table?
The 50 MARKETPLACE tables will be offered on a first-come, first-paid basis to registered suppliers who are ATTA members (MARKETPLACE tables are not included in AdventureNEXT registration fees).
Q: As a supplier, how can I secure quality MARKETPLACE appointments?
MARKETPLACE participants will receive an Appointment Request form that will allow you to request appointments with specific buyers. However, reaching out to buyers you wish to meet with prior to the Appointment Request form going live is also helpful. This allows you to ask buyers to also request you on their Appointment Request form, as requests will be approved based on Buyer – Supplier matches.
Q: Am I guaranteed to receive all my requested appointments?
We do our best to provide as many requested appointments as possible. Due to the popularity of certain delegates, full schedules and exact requests may not be guaranteed.
Q: Can I make changes to my MARKETPLACE Schedule when it is delivered to me?
Absolutely! You are able to add or rearrange meetings after your schedule has been delivered. Please do not contact ATTA to make changes or request appointments once your schedule has been delivered, it is your responsibility to make changes once your schedule has been delivered.
Established in 1990, the Adventure Travel Trade Association is the largest global network of adventure travel leaders. Our community is made up of ~30,000 individual guides, tour operators, lodges, travel advisors, tourism boards, destination marketing and management organizations, outdoor educators, gear companies and travel media who share a belief and commitment to sustainable tourism. The connections and creativity of this vibrant community come together both virtually and in person to create and deliver the solutions that propel our businesses and our communities toward a responsible and profitable future.