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 featured presentations 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 Featured Presentations. Stay tuned, more coming soon.
Pico Iyer // Author
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 featured presentationwe’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.
Pico Iyer is a Distinguished Presidential Fellow at Chapman University, an essayist (since 1986) for Time magazine, a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of 10 books—among them such travel classics as Video Night in Kathmandu, The Lady and the Monk and The Global Soul—as well as 40 introductions to other books. He writes up to 100 articles a year, for magazines from National Geographic to Harper’s and Vanity Fair to The Financial Times, and he’s written liner notes for Leonard Cohen, been a Fellow (twice) at the World Economic Forum and starred in a CNN ad that was part of the “Incredible India” campaign. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and been sold to Hollywood. A product of Eton, Oxford and Harvard, Iyer was born in Oxford, England to parents from India and grew up between school in England and holidays in his parents’ new home in California. For the past 20 years he has been based in rural Japan, when not traveling to such destinations as Ethiopia, North Korea, Easter Island and Bhutan.
Zita Cobb // Shorefast.org
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.
Zita Cobb grew up in Joe Batt’s Arm, a community of 700 people located on Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland. She went on to a financial career initially in the oil and gas industry. She later moved into high technology and was the chief financial officer of JDS Fitel, and senior vice president of strategy for NASDAQ-traded, fiber optics innovator JDS Uniphase. Zita retired in 2001 to sail and to focus on her philanthropic work. She is keenly interested in the well being of rural communities and the preservation of culture and holding on to ways of knowing. She believes in the transformational power of the arts and in business innovation and social entrepreneurship as tools for effective community development. Zita is the visionary & chief agitator behind the Shorefast Foundation. Shorefast leads a number of innovative projects aimed at the cultural and economic resiliency for Fogo Island and Change Islands. The recently launched Fogo Island Inn is a Shorefast initiative.
Synergy ~ A Study in Conservation, Community Development & Tourism
Namibia epitomizes the realization of imagination, inspiration and investment. It has emerged as a world leader in balancing conservation, community development and tourism. This has not been an overnight success.
The foundation for achievement began with a willingness on the part of government to think outside the box and give rights over wildlife to local communities. Legislation establishing communal conservancies was passed in 2006, setting the stage for the first four conservancies to be declared in 1998. Today, Namibia’s Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Program has grown to 79 conservancies, covering over 19% of the land area of the country, with over 250,000 rural Namibians living in a conservancy. The steady growth, and the deepening commitment of communities to live with wildlife, is testimony to an old maxim: nothing gets copied like success.
Is Namibia’s success a model for others? For destinations striving to find the balance between conservation, community development and tourism, this session has been designed to provide insight and understanding about Namibia’s experience. Speakers in this session will review Namibia’s achievements from three unique perspectives: Government, Conservation NGO and the World Bank. The moderator, Mr. John Kasaona, is the son of the first game guard in Namibia, and is today a distinguished second-generation leader in the CBNRM Program.
John Kasaona is a pioneer of community-based conservation — working with the people who use and live on fragile land to enlist them in protecting it. He is a leader in the drive to reinvent conservation in Namibia — turning poachers into protectors of species. It’s a standard nature-documentary scenario: a pristine animal habitat under constant threat by the people who live there, hunting, camping, setting fires. But John Kasaona knows there is a better way to see this relationship between people and environment. As the assistant director for the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) , Kasaona works on ways to improve the lives of rural people in Namibia by involving them in the management of the lands they live on — and the species that live there with them.
Kasanoa’s Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) program helps rural villages set up communal conservancies, which manage and use local natural resources in a sustainable manner. Essentially, it’s about restoring the balance of land and people to that of pre-colonial times, and allowing the people with the most interest in the survival of their environment to have control of it. His work was featured in the recent film Milking the Rhino.
Honorable Nandi Ndaitwah
Namibia Minister of Foreign Affairs
Developing a tourism industry from scratch in post-independence Namibia has required vision from Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and her predecessors. Nandi-Ndaitwah was the Rapporteur General of the Fourth World Women’s Conference in Beijing and served as the negotiator for the African Group in preparation for the conference. She has held a wide range of portfolios including Minister of Women Affairs and Child Welfare, Minister of Information and Broadcasting, and she has served internationally as Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. Bringing Namibia onto the world stage as a tourism destination is a passion for Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. As a cabinet minister, the challenge is to bring economic benefits to rural populations, whilst at the same time conserving the eco-system and wildlife for future generations.
Dr. Philip “Flip” Stander – Founder, Desert Lion Conservation
Philip Stander grew up on a farm in Namibia and became involved with wildlife from an early age. After leaving school at 17 he worked for a game-capture operation in northern Namibia. This led to an appointment as a ranger in Etosha National Park in 1982. A keen interest in science and especially large carnivores led to an internal transfer within ENP, from the Ranger Section to the Research Section, where he worked as a technical assistant to the famous wildlife veterinarian, Dr Ian Hoffmeyr, and the chief biologist, Dr Hugh Berry. His interest in science developed further whilst working under Dr HH Berry on the Etosha Lion Project, where he conducted independent research on aspects of population and hunting dynamics.
In 1989 he was offered a research fellowship at Cornell University where he spent two years writing and publishing scientific papers in pier-review journals. He then moved to Cambridge University, England, where he completed an M.Phil (1991) and a PhD. (1994) degree. His PhD thesis on social evolution and the cooperative hunting strategies of lions was awarded the Thomas Huxley award by the London Zoological Society.
He returned to Namibia and continued his research and conservation work on lions and other large carnivores. In 1998 he started the Desert Lion Conservation project.
Hannah Messerli, Private Sector Development/Tourism Africa Region (AFTFP), The World Bank Group
Biography coming soon!
Anna Pollock // Founder of Conscious Travel
Leading the Way: the Adventure of Travel
At the 2012 Adventure Travel Summit, Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) acknowledged that Adventure Travel represents the future of travel and that the opportunity exists for ATTA members to play a leadership role in the creation of a truly sustainable tourism economy. Anna Pollock will weave the themes explored during the 2012 ATWS – together with her own insights into the dynamic forces shaping tourism, to demonstrate how adventure travel can become a transformative force for good. Anna will address the tough questions:
How do we overcome the tendency for yield to diminish over time?
How can adventure travel providers invoke the uniqueness of each place to differentiate their experiences and generate higher value?
How do we respond to the tsunami of demand and sustain ecosystems, cultures and customer delight?
How might we prevent unique and wondrous places degenerating into commodities?
What contribution can adventure travel make to the regenerative versus extractive economies?
How do we ensure host destinations enjoy sustainable net benefits and have the resilience to withstand external shocks?
Should providers become change agents as well as hosts? Why and how?
Drawing on over 40 years as a destination strategist, Anna will inspire, provoke and challenge members to view their businesses through different lenses and apply a new set of principals in order to create a tourism economy that doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Anna Pollock has over 35 years’ experience as a consultant, strategist, speaker, and change agent. Described as an irrepressibly curious “renaissance woman”, her strength derives from an ability to dig beneath surface trends to find and make sense of the real drivers of change combined with a creative capacity to develop innovative responses.She enjoys dual Canadian and British citizenship having worked in each country for over 15 years and is now a much sought after speaker internationally, focusing on the deep changes affecting tourism and community development.While resident in Canada she undertook seminal work in human resource development, sustainable tourism, health tourism and adventure travel and received The Visionary of the Year Award from the tourism industry in western Canada in recognition of her contribution to thought leadership.In the late 1990s, she conceived and developed the first destination IT strategy based on the Internet and later acted as CEO of a UK-based software company that developed a Destination Management System and became recognized by the UK government as “best of breed”.Tin 2007, anticipating the need by the tourism industry to reduce its carbon footprint, Anna created The Icarus Foundation a not-for-profit agency formed to assist the Canadian tourism industry constructively address climate change and she has quickly become recognised as an innovative and creative thought leader, assisting destinations and companies face up to the challenges of growth and resource dependency.Saddened by the hesitancy with which mainstream tourism approached the need to reduce its environmental impact and heartened by research that shows customers might be changing faster than suppliers, Anna is developing the concept of Conscious.Travel as a movement that integrates and enhances integrates the creative thinking emerging from ecotourism, responsible tourism, adventure travel, tourism philanthropy, slow tourism, tourism 2.0, green travel, ethical tourism, community-based tourism, and indigenous tourism. Conscious.Travel is a movement and an e-learning leadership program designed to develop fully conscious change agents within the tourism community.
Chief Ian Campbell // Hereditary Chief, Squamish First Nation, Canada
Taking Care of One Another
Tribal and indigenous societies are legendary in their open and generous welcoming of guests from distant places. The presence of respect and a spiritual connection to the earth shape guiding principles for a brand of hospitality that offers universal appeal. Chief Ian Campbell speaks from the heart when he describes the sacred nature of one’s people and homelands. He tells stories and offers insights into how tribal and indigenous wisdom and values can enrich visitor experiences and contribute to healthier relationships among members of the tourism community.
The Power of Place
All places are unique in time and space. Indigenous cultures around the globe identify with and respect the unique natural forms and gifts that express the spirit of a place. Through a rich display of his story-telling heritage, Chief Ian Campbell will describe how applying indigenous knowledge to tour “product” development and delivery can deepen guests’ experiences and contribute to a more resilient tourism community.
Destination Renaissance // Restorative Tourism
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
In 1998 the Colombian Government gifted a swath of land the size of Switzerland to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to initiate peace negotiations. After the FARC took control of the territory, they armed themselves, started growing coca, and used the terrain to hide high profile prisoners kidnapped from all over the country. Locals from the area explain that a young person growing up in the region had three options for their future: cultivate coca plants, work in a cocaine lab, or join the guerilla forces as a soldier. In 2002, Colombia’s military began taking back the region, including a river called Caño Cristales; a series of cascading pools and waterfalls that glow red, yellow and orange from a seasonal algae blooms. Many consider Caño Cristales the most beautiful river in the world. Our subject (name undisclosed for security), was born in a small village near Caño Cristales and endured the hardships of coming to age in the middle one of Colombia’s toughest warzones. Learn how he, in his own words, has turned the page on his past to establish a new adventure travel business leading tourists to Caño Cristales, a place that was completely off limits until the Colombian military started protecting the first groups of visitors in 2008.
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.
Gregg Bleakney’s roots as a visual storyteller began accidentally, after he left a career in information technology, sold everything he owned, and road his bicycle for 18,500 miles from Alaska to Argentina. The trip took two years and raised over $50,00 for the American Diabetes Association. Bleakney covered every mile of the journey on his bicycle, with the exception of Colombia, which he flew over after being repeatedly warned that it was too dangerous. In Peru, he met some Colombian mountain climbers who invited him on a two-month road trip through their country after he finished pedaling to Argentina. He took them up on their offer, subsequently fell in love with Colombia, and has based himself there part-time since 2007 while working on a long-term documentary about the country’s self-discovery through tourism. Gregg also directs photographic, written, and video projects for adventure travel clients around the world. He’s a founding member of the ATTA’s visual storytelling team and ExOfficio’s adventure travel brand ambassador.
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.