Last updated: 11:45 AM ET, Fri May 08 2015

Adventure Travel Trade Association Plans AdventureWeek in Nepal

Impacting Travel | Janeen Christoff | May 07, 2015

Adventure Travel Trade Association Plans AdventureWeek in Nepal

Nepal is still reeling from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on April 25. As relief efforts pour in, the country is scrambling to recover as monsoon season approaches. Many organizations have mobilized to provide immediate assistance in the region, but others are looking for ways to help Nepal in the long term. Enter the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), which is planning an event to aid the recovery effort in the country.

“This is the most the ATTA has been impacted by a disaster because we have so many companies that have both direct and indirect suppliers in Nepal,” said ATTA president Shannon Stowell.

There was also a strong response from the adventure travel industry as a whole in terms of reaching out to donate and assist in recovery efforts.

“Originally, we were hoping to funnel industry donations to adventure industry organizations on the ground in Nepal,” said Stowell. “However, we realized that we weren’t built for that as an organization.”

At that point, the ATTA made the decision to point donors in the right direction as far as donations were concerned. But the ATTA was still on the lookout for the best way that it could contribute and help in the rebuilding effort.

“We came to the conclusion that longer term was likely going be the most under-supported,” said Stowell. “There is currently a lot of aid pouring in right now. We were looking at the impact later down the road and how the tour industry would suffer.”

Tourism is big business in Nepal – it accounts for nearly a half-million jobs and approximately $1.5 billion. The ATTA was looking for a way to really boost tourism and one program seemed a perfect fit.

“We looked at a program that we do called AdventureWeek, and we looked at how that would be a good event because it is a great boost for the tourism industry,” said Stowell.

In fact, the AdventureWeek platform has a track record for improving tourism in several destinations, including Baja Sur, Mexico, and the Balkans, two events that the ATTA has put together within the last year.

“As one of the supporting donor organizations, ATTA's AdventureWeek not only brought the business linkages with global agencies and great positive global promotion, it also brought together the communities within each of the three countries, but even more importantly between Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia,” said Filip Stoyanovich of the USAID Regional Economic Growth (REG) Project in the  Balkans. “The ATTA and AdventureWeek, is the perfect ‘tool’ to reinvigorate the local Nepalese community after this horrific disaster and start the rebuilding process of this wonderful country.”

Right now, the event, called AdventureWeek Rebound-Nepal, is in a very fluid state. Information from the country is coming in slowly and there are no dates set in stone. The ATTA will also need funding as AdventureWeek is typically supported by local tourism boards and tour operators, and Stowell noted that this event is not going to be tapping those.

“We are planning to ask the adventure travel industry to donate to the trip. We are asking buyers who sell Nepal to participate,” he said. “The idea is to spread the word about the recovery.”

Stowell noted that another one of the main differences between this AdventureWeek and a typical event is that the ATTA is planning to bring experts to help the recovery efforts.

“The idea is that we will bring experts in crisis recovery, in marketing and other fields and that, by experiencing this program, the companies in Nepal will be better equipped to rebuild.”

While there is no set date, the ATTA is looking at this summer, possibly August, for the event but they are still monitoring the situation.

“We are looking for the sweet spot, when the infrastructure is pretty much ready to go,” said Stowell. “We want to go at a smart time.”

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