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ADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXTMAdventure TourismDevelopment IndexGaribaldi Lake, Canada; photo by Natasha MartinAdventure Travel Trade Association / The George Washington University

2009 ADVENTURE TOURISMDEVELOPMENT INDEX REPORTExecutive SummaryTen Pillars of AdventureTourism Market CompetitivenessRankings AnalysisComplete Rankingsa d v en t u r e i n d e x51017Photo: Adam VaughtBurmawww.1.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University

ATDI 2009 Executive SummaryThe Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI) is a joint initiative of The George Washington University andThe Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).The ATDI offers a ranking of countries around the world based on principles of sustainable adventure tourismand is calculated through a combination of survey and quantitative data gathered from international indices.It seeks to gauge the potential of a country to host an adventure travel market and examines ten factors(10 pillars of Adventure Market Competitiveness) in three categories:1. Safe and Welcoming2. Readiness3. AdventureWith the goal of promoting sustainable development of adventure tourism, the ATDI was created to supportentrepreneurs and governments who want to create and market sustainable adventure tourism products andservices for the benefit of communities and environment.ATDI BackgroundThe ATDI ranks countries based on the 10 Principles of Adventure Market Competitiveness. These principleswere proposed by Xola Consulting based on observations about the unique characteristics of adventuretourism products and markets in 2007. At that time, Xola proposed that the adventure industry promotethe consistent application of such basic principles and initiated conversations with the George WashingtonUniversity and the ATTA.In 2008, The ATTA embraced the project as necessary for the responsible evolution of the adventure industry;GW signed on to develop a quantitative methodology for measuring how countries are performing relative tothese principles, and the scored ranking system for the ATDI was born.In 2009 the team assembled an advisory board made up of government and private sector representativesfrom the around the world in the adventure travel industry to further refine the methodology. The ATDI AdvisoryBoard members include: Mongolia National Tourism Board — Mongolia Uncharted Outposts — USA, operating globally Switzerland Tourism — Switzerland Stavanger University — Norway Tourism Industry Association, New Zealand — New Zealand Fazendin Portfolio — USA/Africa Explorades — Peru Candadian Tourism Commission — Canada Instituto EcoBrasil — Brazil Wildland Adventures — USA Wanderlust Consulting — USA Myths and Mountains — USA/Asia PEPY Tours — Cambodia DMR Consulting — Canada ABETA — Brazil Strategic Travel Consulting — USAwww.a d v en t u r e i n d e x.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University1

The ATDI rankings are currently in their second year. ATTA promotes the program to the adventure travel industryand supports its expansion; GW continues to refine the technical methodology and calculate the scores eachyear; Xola Consulting supports the program with project management and analysis, and continues to applyATDI’s ten principles in its adventure market development work with destinations.RankingsThe ATDI ranks countries in two categories: developed and developing, based on the countries’ UN designation.Complete rankings can be found at the end of this report.Developing CountriesThe scores for 2009 and 2008 are provided below. RepublicIsraelCzech Lithuania2008EstoniaChileSlovak RepublicCzech Developed ndNew ZealandUnited in2008SwitzerlandSwedenNew ZealandUnited KingdomSpainUnited es as recognized by the U.N. are benchmarked in the ATDI and are represented in two groups:Developed and Developing Countries.ATDI 2009 includes 28 developed countries and 164 developing countries.The ten pillars have been categorized into three factors: Safe and Welcoming, Adventure Resources andReadiness. The calculation method used in the ATDI has been adjusted to weigh more heavily pillars that havespecific importance to adventure travel market competitiveness: Entrepreneurship Adventure Activity Resourceswww.a d v en t u r e i n d e x.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University2

Below depicts the 3 factors and 10 pillars.Safe and WelcomingAdventureReadiness Sustainable Development Safety Natural Resources Health Entrepreneurship Adventure Resources Humanitarian Infrastructure Cultural Resources ImageMethodology Changes for 2009In the first year of the ATDI, it was important for the partners to garner feedback from industry leaders. To thisend, an advisory board and a social networking site were created. Through online discussion and conferencecalls, the advisory board critically examined the methodology.Based on feedback from the advisory board, the partners made changes to better measure adventurecompetitiveness in 2009. The following changes were made:1. In pillar 2, Safety, a survey question was incorporated. The question asked panelists to rate “Your perceptionof this destination as safe and secure for travel” on a Likert scale of -3 (very poor) to 3 (very good).2. In pillar 4, Natural Resources, a survey question was added which asked panelists to rate their perception“regarding the variety of natural resources at the destination” on a Likert scale of -3 (very poor) to 3(very good).3. In pillar 4, Natural Resources, a survey question and a new indicator — ratio of coastline to landmass — wasadded to accommodate Canada's vast amount of coastline. The new ratio had a positive effect for islandnations; although most countries’ scores decreased with the new method. Given that most countries sawtheir natural resources score decline, this change had less of an effect overall on rankings.4. In pillar 5, Cultural Resources, the ATDI added a survey question, which asked expert panelists to rate theirperception of the destination as “culturally rich,” on a on a Likert scale of -3 (very poor) to 3 (very good).Highlights from the 2009 Results and Key Shifts from 2008 ResultsA comparison of the 2009 and 2008 rankings reveals some interesting changes. In the developing countriescategory, three new countries entered the top ten to replace three that fell out. For the developed countriescategory, four countries did likewise. Both of last year’s number ones relinquished their top spot.In both indices, a lot of movement was relatively minor, with countries gaining or losing a few spots. However,some significant moves stand out. Israel’s 9 spot gain and Slovenia’s 10 spot gain pushed them both into thetop ten, and Israel all the way up to number 2. Meanwhile, Hungary and Uruguay dropped 7 and 8 spots respectively, dropping out of the top ten. Egypt and Bhutan were the biggest movers from 2008 to 2009, althoughneither reached the top ten. Egypt moved up 19 spots and Bhutan an impressive 56 spots, from 78th to 22nd.In the developed countries index, Australia, Denmark, and Ireland posted big gains, moving up 12, 15, and 15spots respectively. All three made it into the top ten. The biggest drops were seen from Sweden and the UnitedStates, dropping 15 and 18 spots respectively, both moving out of the top 10 and the US out of the top 20.What’s behind these big changes?As mentioned above, the methodology for the 2009 index was modified from the 2008 Index to reflect suggestions from the Advisory Board designed to improve performance. These changes explain most of the moves inrank from 2008 to 2009.www.a d v en t u r e i n d e x.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University3

The Safety pillar was modified with an additional question asking panelists to rate their perception of safety ina particular country. This change boosted the scores of Bhutan, Egypt, Ireland, Israel, Romania, and Slovenia.The Cultural Resources pillar was also modified with a question asking panelists to rate their perception of acountry as being culturally rich. This had a dramatic effect on scores this year. The Cultural Resources scoresfor Australia, Bhutan, Denmark, Egypt, Ireland, Israel, Romania, and Slovenia increased by 2 to 4 points out of10, a sizeable increase.Changes in the methodology of the Natural Resources pillar acted to bring down scores. Most countries sawtheir score decrease, although to varying degrees. In 2008, this pillar was composed of urban population andpopulation density. A survey question and a ratio of coastline to landmass were added for 2009, and mostcountries’ scores decreased with the new method. This had less effect on rankings than the other methodologychanges due to the fact that most countries saw their natural resources score decline.Two more notable changes: Bhutan showed the biggest movement in the index, moving up from 78th ranked to 22nd. Large gains in itsSafety and Cultural Resources skills helped, but its biggest gain was its Entrepreneurship score, where it gainedalmost 6 points. The Entrepreneurship score is based on the Index of Economic Freedom. Bhutan did notappear in last year’s index and thus was automatically scored a 1 on last year’s ATDI. Bhutan is includedin the latest Index of Economic Freedom, and this boosted its Entrepreneurship score tremendously. The United States fell 18 spots, one of the larger drops in the index. This is predominately due to a decreasein the Infrastructure and Image scores. Both of these scores are determined by survey questions given to apanel of industry experts.Photo: Christina HeynigerParo, Bhutanwww.a d v en t u r e i n d e x.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University4

10 Pillars of Adventure Tourism Market CompetitivenessThis section describes the 10 pillars in detail and provides information on how the quantitative scores forcountries were derived for each pillar. For most of the pillars data was gathered from publicly availabledatabases and scores were assigned. In some cases survey data was used and values assigned basedon respondents’ answers. To discuss the methodology in detail, join the ATDI online forum by sending anemail to or to Adam Vaught1. Sustainable Development PolicyGovernment policies that support and foster sustainable and ruraltourism development are crucial to adventure tourism marketcompetitiveness because they safeguard the destination’s natural,heritage and cultural resources and provide a positive investmentclimate for the private sector. When public and private sectoractions are coordinated, the private sector flourishes, attractinginvestment and development to a region. To assign a quantitativevalue to government policies supportive of sustainable tourism, theteam used the following two indicators:1. The Environmental Performance Index2. Unemployment per country (as a % of total labor force)Ruun, CambodiaRationale: High environmental performance and low unemployment create a favorable climate for sustainabledevelopment, and government polices are an important factor in driving country performance in these areas.2. Safety and SecurityRationale: Countries with high levels of transparency andlow or no travel warnings issued are safer for adventuretravelers.When the 10 pillars are applied diagnostically in destinations, the Safety and Security pillar assesses the degree to Near Petra, Jordanwhich adventure operators provide for the safety of travelers, and also whether facilities exist to cope withtravel-related injuries. For example, in destinations where scuba diving is a popular draw, do hyperbaric chamberfacilities for decompression exist? In destinations where mountaineering is prevalent, are rescue operationsavailable? Do guides have first aid training? Generally, does the level of client safety offered meet internationallyaccepted standards?Additionally for 2009, the ATDI incorporated a survey question that was put to the expert panel. The questionasked panelists to rate “Your perception of this destination as safe and secure for travel” on a Likert scale of-3 (very poor) to 3 (very good).www.a d v en t u r e i n d e x.traveADVENTURE TOURISM DEVELOPMENT INDEXlTMAdventure Travel Trade AssociationThe George Washington University5Photo: Shannon StowellWith respect to safety, the ATDI numerical benchmarksgauge how safe it is to travel in a country. The Safetypillar is made up of two indicators:1. The Transparency Index2. Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Warnings

3. Tourism InfrastructurePhoto: Christina HeynigerAdventure travelers, unlike mainstream package tourists,are frequently less sensitive to deficiencies in hard tourisminfrastructure, but perhaps more sensitive than other travelerswhen it comes to soft tourism infrastructure. While hardinfrastructure may take substantial capital investment andyears to develop, often soft infrastructure required by adventuretravelers can be developed with comparatively little capitaloutlay. Adventure tourism infrastructure includes:1. Hard infrastructure such as roads, airports, lodging facilities,and trails;2. Soft infrastructure such as:a. Trail mapsNorthern Montenegrob. Accessible information on heritage and culturec. Ground operators/ outfittersd. Training programs for adventure tourism providers including guides/interpreters, ecolodges, etcData for the Infrastructure pillar come from surveys of adventure and devel

The Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI) is a joint initiative of The George Washington University and The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). The ATDI offers a ranking of countries around the world based on principles of sustainable adventure tourism

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