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Panama's Path to Sustainable Adventure Travel Leadership Unveiled in Roadmap

Panama's Rise as a Sustainable Adventure Travel Leader: A Journey of Collaboration and Innovation

Panama has emerged as a trailblazer in sustainable adventure travel, thanks to years of concerted efforts in research, education, and partnership with the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). This strategic collaboration has culminated in Panama being selected as the host for this year's prestigious Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), a testament to its commitment to sustainable destination development.

The partnership between Panama and ATTA began to take shape in 2016, propelled by the vision of Annie Young, President of the Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO) and an ATTA Ambassador. Since then, Panama's government and tourism associations have worked closely with ATTA to showcase the country's untapped potential in adventure travel. This collaboration led to successful events such as AdventureWeek Panama in 2018 and AdventureNEXT Latin America in 2022.

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Gabriella Stowell, ATTA's Vice President of Regional Development, commended Panama's progress, highlighting the country's comprehensive approach to adventure travel development. Panama's journey with ATTA has involved extensive research, education, and community empowerment initiatives, equipping local tour operators and guides with the necessary tools and knowledge to embrace adventure tourism.

Annie Young emphasized the importance of education in shaping perceptions of adventure tourism, noting that it goes beyond mere adrenaline-fueled activities to encompass meaningful connections, inspiration, and collaboration.

The impact of Panama's partnership with ATTA is evident in the significant economic and tourism benefits it has generated. Projections from AdventureNEXT Latin America 2022 indicate a substantial increase in traveler spend and visitation to Panama over the next three years. Moreover, Panama's profile as an adventure travel destination has risen dramatically, with a surge in interest among buyers considering including Panama in their itineraries.

Central to Panama's strategy has been its focus on sustainable community tourism activation programs, aimed at preserving its natural and cultural heritage. Initiatives such as trail development and support for community tourism startups have contributed to Panama's status as a premier adventure travel destination.

Looking ahead, Panama is set to showcase its achievements on a global stage when it hosts ATWS in October 2024. The event will highlight Panama's commitment to responsible tourism and its vibrant adventure travel offerings.

Panama's success story serves as a blueprint for destinations worldwide, demonstrating how dedication, creativity, and collaboration can transform tourism models while preserving unique identities and natural treasures.

For destinations aspiring to follow in Panama's footsteps, the ATTA offers a range of resources and opportunities, including membership, community events, and market-driven education initiatives. By joining forces with ATTA, destinations can embark on a journey towards sustainable adventure tourism and contribute to a more responsible and resilient global tourism industry.

April 19, 2024 12:20 p.m. 5023

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