The ATTA has released its annual Industry Snapshot Report with data from its community of tour operators. In these reports, adventure travel tour operators are invited to share information about their business operations as well as trends they are experiencing with respect to traveler demographics, destinations, and activities. The ATTA has completed this report for over 16 years to better understand the current state of the adventure travel industry and monitor changes over time.
To gather data for this Annual Industry Snapshot Report, a survey was conducted throughout April 2023, asking tour operator respondents about their 2022 business operations and sales, 2023 booking expectations, travel trends, and consumer motivations. The survey was available in English as in all prior years, and this year it could also be taken in Spanish for the first time.
It is clear from this year’s survey results that the adventure travel industry has on the whole recovered from the economic effects of COVID-19, with revenue, trip fill rates, and staffing increasing and approaching 2019 numbers. Operators are taking steps to ensure future success, with 85% having a documented safety and risk management plan and 68% holding or working toward a sustainability certification (up from 45% last year).
Again demonstrating the value of adventure travel, respondents’ most popular itinerary is priced at a median of $3,000 (for 8 nights), 76% of which ($2,280 on average) is spent with local suppliers; these are the highest numbers we have seen to date and show the importance of valuing community engagement and forward-looking environmental practices while traveling.
Some key findings in this year’s report include:
Recovery from COVID-19
- On average, trips were 65% full (up from 52% in 2021), and only 1% of respondents had zero guests in 2022 (down from 9% last year and 16% in 2020)
- The average number of travelers served by respondents was 4,243, a 213% increase from 1,355 in 2021 and up 658% from 2020
- Most departments have seen an increase in staffing over the previous year, especially the guides, sales, and operations teams
- Only 10% of respondents had some reduction in revenue compared to 2021. 14% had a 2022 gross annual revenue of less than $50,000, down from 30% in 2021 and 45% in 2020
Popular Trip Itineraries, Destinations and Activities
- Respondents’ most popular itinerary is priced at $3,000 (for 8 nights), 76% of which ($2,280 on average) is spent with local suppliers
- The most popular consumer motivations for traveling were new experiences, to go off the beaten track, and to travel like a local
- The hottest trending destinations were the Mediterranean, Western Europe, South America, Scandinavia, and Central America
- Top trending activities remain hiking/trekking/walking, cultural, culinary/gastronomy, mountain biking, and safaris/wildlife viewing
- Globally, approximately two-thirds (62%) of bookings are made directly with the service provider, the same as last year
- 68% of respondents have an online reservation system that takes credit cards, up from 62% last year and 50% in previous years
- Globally, 74% of respondents expect their 2023 net profit to be equal to or better than 2022, and 63% even expect it to be higher than 2019
- 43% of respondents are seeing an improvement in domestic travel demand for 2023, down from 73% in 2022, showing a stabilization in demand
- 87% of respondents are seeing an improvement in international travel demand for 2023