Meeting planners take note: the adventure travel industry has emerged from an awkward adolescence, marked by years of identity crises and unregulated growth. Now it's on the way to a healthy adulthood, with regulations in place for land use and guide licensing.
That's the news from the Seventh Annual World Congress of Adventure Travel, held this year at Mont Tremblant, Quebec in early October.
"Things have never looked so good for the adventure travel industry," said Jerry Mallett, president and founder of the Adventure Travel Society, sponsor of the event. Mallet has good reason to sound bullish. Including the cost of lodging, transportation, meals, and equipment, worldwide adventure travel is estimated to be a $200 billion annual industry, with a projected growth of 8 to 10 percent a year.
In the United States alone, 80 million people will have an adventure travel experience next year. And many of those folks will be heli-skiing, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, and experiencing other adventure travel activities as part of corporate and incentive travel packages.
Conference attendee Bill Dvorak of Dvorak's Expeditions in Nathrop, CO, says that corporate-sponsored packages now account for 25 percent of his business. "River trips are very corporate-friendly, with low risk and high adventure," Dvorak says. "Every year they get more popular with the incentive and corporate teambuilding groups."
Another sign that the adventure travel industry has come of age: The first national trade show for adventure travel will take place February 6 to 8 in Atlanta. The Adventure Travel & Ecotourism Industry Trade Show and Conference, AdvenTrav, with an estimated 325 booths and 19,000 attendees expected, will include seminars on adventure travel packages for corporate meeting and incentive planners. For more information about the show, contact SEMCO Productions at (770) 998-9800.
* March 14 to 18, 1998, SITE European University, Istanbul. Call SITE at (212) 575-0910.
* March 31 to April 1, 1998, Beyond Borders Conference, sponsored by Adams Business Media and PGI, New York, NY. Call Ann Boehme, CMP at (516) 561-4223.
* April 19 to 22, 1998, LCA Advanced Professional Forum, East Lansing, MI. Call Diana Huseby at (701) 282-1094.
* April 22 to 24, 1998, American Hotel & Motel Association Annual Convention and Leadership Forum, Reno, NV. Call AH&MA at (202) 289-3131.