Switzerland ranks as the top adventure destination out of developed countries. // © 2015 Thinkstock
The Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and George Washington University have released the fifth Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI). The index ranks countries on adventure travel options and competitiveness and is correlated by the factors that make a destination an adventure destination.
These rankings are not based on the countries’ popularity or visitor numbers, though sometimes these numbers are indeed comparative. The report is divided into two categories: developed countries and developing countries.
In ranking order, the top 10 developed countries for adventure tourism are: Switzerland, Iceland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, Finland, Sweden and France. The top nine destinations have remained the same since 2011, when the ATDI was last released. Japan previously held the 10th spot, which has been filled by France.
In ranking order, the top 10 developing countries are: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Chile, Poland, Israel, Slovenia, Korea Republic and Costa Rica. Hungary previously held the 10th spot, which has been replaced by Costa Rica.
Some changes in rankings are due in part to updated research and policy changes in certain countries. However, it can be noted that the report’s most dramatic changes are outside the top 10 listings. Serbia moved from 65th place on the rankings in 2011 to 34th place in 2015, due to improvements in safety and humanitarian policies, whereas the Syrian Arab Republic has dropped 35 positions because of humanitarian issues facing the country today.
“At a time when both environmental and social forces are experiencing turbulent rates of change, we are beginning to see how the complex relationships between factors affect real life tourism outcomes,” said Christina Beckmann, director of research and education for ATTA. “The ATDI is an important tool to understand how we can better promote adventure travel, which requires less development than traditional travel sectors.”
Data points analyzed by the ATDI include: sustainable development, safety, natural resources, health, entrepreneurship, adventure activity resources, humanitarianism, infrastructure, cultural resources and image. This data is meant to measure a country’s preparedness to compete in the adventure tourism sector and facilitate tourism policy to drive economic growth in a way that is both environmentally and culturally sustainable.
The full report is available on the ATTA website.