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ATOAI convention unleashes Adventure Tourism potential
  • January 2019

14th Annual Convention of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATAOI) from January 17-20, 2019, which focused on the theme ‘Adventure Travel: Future Challenges & Opportunities in the digital age’ has concluded with a success note at picturesque Araku Valley in Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Mukesh Kumar Meena, I.A.S., Secretary to Government, Tourism & Culture, Government of Andhra Pradesh inaugurated the convention in the presence of Mr. Himanshu Shukla. I.A.S, Director Tourism, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and Mr. Huw Kingston, renowned adventure traveler from Australia and ATOAI office bearers.

Capt. Swadesh Kumar, President of ATOAI while delivering his presidential address, said that major highlight of the convention is the biggest participation from women adventurers from all over India. Keeping the tradition of going to emerging hot spots in the country to showcase their potential as adventure tourism destinations, ATOAI comes to Araku Valley to unleash the adventure tourism potential that the state has to offer. He also informed that ATOAI is inviting all stakeholders to contribute in its resolve to make India the adventure capital of world in 2025.

Mr. Rajesh Ojha, Secretary, ATOAI urged convention delegates to take up safety policy and standard guidelines to all the stakeholders from the adventure fraternity as to focus on an adventure-filled safety experience. ATOAI has recently formulated a well researched safety and security guideline for adventure travel in India and this guideline has formally approved by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Keynote speakers Mr. Huw Kingston, an Australian adventurer, writer, and environmentalist spoke about his journey and love for Indian Himalaya, while Mr. Brian Almeida, a customer loyalty expert engaged the audience with insights on how to bring customer as the focus of any business and build a strong relationship with them, Ms. Dilshad Master Kumar, a brand media specialist spoke about ‘Brand positioning in the competitive age.’

Mr. Himanshu Shukla. I.A.S, Director Tourism, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and MD, APTDC has presented a detailed view of AP Tourism and adventure travel potential along with investment opportunity in Andhra Pradesh.

According to Mr. Himanshu SHukla IAS, the main objective behind bringing ATAOI Annual convention to Araku is identify and focus, new as well as established adventure products available in AP to the world through the realpractisioners and ambassadors of Adventure travel in India. Besides, bringing investment opportunities to adventure travel fraternity and providing networking opportunities with local stakeholders.

During the two days deliberations, many presentations and discussions were caught attention of the delegates due its nail baiting adventure travel experiences and eye opener to the new entrants to the field. Few sessions were really an inspiring especially the Kilimanjaro mountain expedition by visually challenged trekkers lead by Ms. Anupama Balasubramaniam and the Ultra Cycle challengses through Unisted states by Lt. Col. Dr. Srinivas Gokulnath from Indian Army.  

“We have designed and Structured the convention programme to interspersed with sessions, networking and activity away from resident enclave; the evenings are opportunities to savour mouth watering spicy Andhra cuisines along with local Dimsa dance, exchange moments of each other’s notable moments”, renew and make new alliances, said Mr. Vaibhav Kala, Convention Chairman.

Mr. Shekhar Babu from Hyderabad, was the co-chairman of Convention, who is an Everester himself and has the mantle of helping over 24 climbers from AP to reach the summit of Everest. The AP state holds a record of twenty Everest Summiteers who were also invited and felicitated in the convention.

The major highlight of the convention was the participation of large number of women delegates compared to previous conventions and women adventurers with a focus on shifting their carrier options from corporate to adventure travel. Convention has also had witnessed sessions on ‘Women in Adventure’, and future of ATOAI & Adventure Travel in India. Amidst the busy business sessions and networking lunches and dinners, the delegates were found time to explore and experienced the world of adventures at the Araku Valley like para-motoring, hot air ballooning, zip line, high ropes, zorbing,  kayaking and ATVs.

As part of the convention, ATOAI has also organised an adventure tourism exhibition, which includes the manufacturers, distributors, tour operators, adventure activity providers and state tourism boards came together to promote adventure tourism.

From Kerala a team lead by Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotions Society and Eco Tourism directorate were participated and exhibited the new adventure travel products from God’s Own Country to the convention delegates and visitors.

More than 300 delegates from adventure travel fraternity, industry players state tourism boards, local stakeholders and media persons  were actively participated in the three-day event (January 17- 19). The annual convention of ATOAI, the umbrella organization of Adventure Tour Operators in India, was hosted and supported by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority with a focus of promoting adventure tourism in the state.