Study Finds Adventure Tour Operators Eager to Work With Travel Agents

The adventure travel market continues to gain steam and demand among adventure travel tour operators who want to work with agents is broadening.

According to research from the Adventure Travel Trade Association, 87 percent of adventure travel-focused tour operators work with travel agents, but only a small subset of travel advisors specialize in the category.

“There is clearly a demand from adventure tour operators to work with specialist travel advisors,” said Russell Walters, the ATTA’s regional director for North America. “The findings in the report demonstrate areas where operators and travel agents can work together to develop relationships, leading to long-term business opportunities in this growing market segment.”

Adventure tour operators consider travel agents a “new sales channel.”

While just 30 percent of their sales come from agents, 63 percent of tour operators have experienced growth in sales through the travel agent channel. This means that there is a lot of room for expansion for travel agents looking to specialize or grow their business with adventure travel trips.

Working with travel agents is appealing for other reasons as well. The survey found that tour operators look to travel agents as a trusted distribution network. Additionally, agents give tour operators clients in desired markets and provide a personal touch in the booking experience.

Gaining an edge into the travel agent community is so important to tour operators that 70 percent stated they’d be interested in training on working with travel agents.

Working in the adventure travel market is a smart move for agents looking to make the leap, too. The industry is booming, and worth nearly $700 billion and the potential is seemingly endless with journeys that span the globe. The top three trip types booked by agents are hiking/walking/trekking tours, cultural tours and multi-sport excursions, all types of travel that are trending with travelers.

Travel agents can look to the ATTA for educational webinars, supporting research and live events that will provide them learning opportunities within the adventure travel market. The organization has an archive of webinars that cover a variety of topics, including destination profiles that are useful to the agent community interested in adventure travel opportunities in a particular region.

Its research reports also provide relevant background information on the sector. Reports are accessible to members free of charge but many are also available free for the travel community at large.

One of the best ways to learn about adventure travel is to join the community. The ATTA offers free AdventureConnect live, face-to-face events in destinations around the world. These events provide the opportunity to connect with members of the ATTA as well as tour operators and representatives from the adventure travel community.

Consortia and host agencies have also boosted their adventure travel educational opportunities as well. Travel Leaders a specialist Active and Adventure Training Program and Virtuoso also offer specialist training for agents interested in the active and adventure sector.

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