ADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEX

Groundbreaking New ATDI Initiative Gauges Global Adventure Market Competitiveness, & Promotes Sustainable, Responsible Adventure Tourism Development

(SANTA FE, NM) - October 21, 2008: Christina Heyniger, President of Xola Consulting, Inc. will join a select contingent of global travel pioneers and experts scheduled to address hundreds of executives representing tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, travel agents, accommodations, and media from around the world at the 2008 Adventure Travel World Summit in Norway, October 21-25.

Along with the ATTA and The George Washington University, Heyniger has been a driving force behind the creation of the Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI). The ATDI and Feature Adventure Destination program provides guidelines and a ranking system to support the creation of sustainable adventure travel markets, which drive benefits for communities and the environment. For travelers and tour operators, the ATDI signals destinations where there may be untapped potential for adventure travel.

Heyniger will be a featured speaker at the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA)'s fifth Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS). Summit organizers invited Heyniger to introduce the ATDI in a session titled "Adventure Tourism Development Index - Integrating Destinations from the First Stage of Market Development".

In the session, Heyniger and colleague Kristin Lamoureux from The George Washington University will discuss the 2008 ATDI rankings and the benefits of applying this development standard in emerging adventure markets.

Recognizing the important differences between mainstream tourism markets and adventure tourism markets, the ATDI offers tourism destinations an alternative way of looking at market potential and investment and development strategies. For example, other ranking systems that award high scores for hard infrastructure such as highways or electronic banking facilities can send the message to tourism developers that highways and electronic banking are always necessary for competitive tourism markets.

The ATDI emphasizes different aspects of market development to provide measure for attributes important to adventure tourism. For example, the importance of entrepreneurship - a factor that is crucial for sparking business development in rural areas, and the availability of well-managed adventure activity resources.

"As more destinations and businesses enter the adventure tourism industry, we must aggregate our industry's best practices and knowledge to support responsible development," said Heyniger. "As one of the industry's most important gatherings of leaders, the ATTA's Summit offers a high-profile stage to illustrate this set of principles that will structure the adventure industry's growth, and ensure that any new markets that are created will be sustainable, and deliver benefits into the future for the local environment and people."

About Xola Consulting

Xola Consulting, Inc. specializes in consulting and research services for the adventure tourism industry, providing expertise to both entrepreneurial adventure tour operators and government tourism boards and destination management organizations. Xola also publishes Off the Radar, an online newsletter and website providing information to adventure travelers about the best sustainable adventure travel destinations and trips.

About the Adventure Travel Trade Association

Established in 1990, the Seattle-based ATTA is a global membership organization dedicated to unifying, professionalizing, promoting and responsibly growing the adventure travel market worldwide. ATTA Members include tour operators, destination marketing organizations, tourism boards, travel agents/agencies, guides, lodges/resorts/attractions, media, and service providers. Host of the Adventure Travel World Summits, the ATTA provides professional support, development, education, research, marketing, career building, networking and cost saving resources to its members.

About The George Washington University

The George Washington University's International Institute of Tourism Studies has held a leadership role in tourism and hospitality education for over 30 years, building a global reputation for tourism research and academic programs. Today, IITS, located within GWs School of Business, offers academic opportunities in tourism administration, event management, sport management, and sustainable destination management for undergraduate, master's, and professional students.

 


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