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Dawn of a new era of adventure tourism

Adventure and responsible tourism seem to be the most trending travel segments. This is evident in PATA hosting its annual Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018 at Al Ain from February 21-23. Dr. Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA shares more details with TTME.

Shehara Rizly

Q) What will this year’s tourism conference entail?
The PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2018 (ATRTCM 2018) is Asia Pacific’s leading travel trade event dedicated to the adventure travel industry. The three-day event comprises of a one-day travel trade mart and one-day conference, along with other value-added activities that facilitate networking and relationship building. The conference and mart is held annually with past events held in Thimphu, Bhutan; Chiang Rai, Thailand, and Luoyang, China. The event’s choice of host destination reflects the growing importance of dispersing tourists to emerging destinations.

Q) What is the aim and objectives of the event?
During the day-long travel trade mart, adventure product buyers and sellers from across the world have the opportunity to meet face-to-face through pre-matched appointments. Sellers include state, regional and local tourism agencies from established and emerging markets, unique accommodation providers and tour operators. At the one-day conference, delegates will explore the nuances, trends and dynamics of one of the fastest-growing tourism sectors. The year’s programme, under the theme ‘Adventure in a New Era’, brings together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry from both private and public sectors to discuss the sector’s issues and opportunities. We expect approximately 200 delegates from over 20 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

Q) What was the reason to select Al Ain for this event?
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is one of PATA’s newest members. One of their current strategies is to diversify their product offerings and promote Al Ain as an adventure destination. ATRTCM is the perfect opportunity to showcase to the world what Al Ain has to offer. As one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, the destination has attractions and activities to suit travellers of all types, from its green oasis, archaeological sites and forts to its adventure activities such as white water rafting, kayaking and go karting.

More and more travellers are looking for authentic and unique experiences. Lesser-known destinations, such as Al Ain, have the potential to attract visitors who are seeking ‘off-the-beaten track’ experiences.

Q) Why was adventure travel chosen as the theme or subject of the event?
The adventure travel market has been growing rapidly in the last decade as tourists worldwide seek new adventures and experiences. In 2015, the adventure tourism industry generated revenue of $7.88 trillion. Furthermore, the definition of tourism is changing rapidly. The beachside vacation or regular sight-seeing holidays are losing its market to adventurous activities such as skydiving, surfing, rock or mountain climbing, caving, and deep-sea diving that involve high risk. ATRTCM is a niche event for the adventure travel market and one of our signature annual events.

Q) What is the expected business during the two-day event?
Seller and buyers delegates will conduct face-to-face business meetings facilitated through pre-matched appointments during the travel mart day. Further networking opportunities will also be available during social functions and networking breaks.

Q) How will this be applied later on by agents and other stakeholders?
By joining the event and experiencing Al Ain, travel agents and tour operators will have first-hand knowledge of the activities and attractions the destination has to offer. They will then be in a better position to help sell the destination to their clients.

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