Adventure Tourism Development Index rates top adventure destinations

The Adventure Tourism Development Index is a study put together by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, in conjunction with George Washington University and Xola Consulting. The joint effort examines 192 countries and ranks them based on their commitment to sustainable adventure tourism, as well as a number of other factors that influence their ability to host an adventure travel market and offer unique experience to travelers.

The ATDI uses what it calls the “10 Pillars of Adventure Tourism Market Competitiveness” to determine its rankings. Those pillars include Sustainable Development Policy, Safety and Security, Tourism Infrastructure, Natural Resources, Cultural Resources, Adventure Activity Resources, Entrepreneurship, Humanitarian, Health, and Image.

The study used a combination of surveys, gathered from top adventure travel specialists from around the planet, and quantifiable data from each of the countries to establish a list of the top adventure destinations in both the developed and developing world.

The results of the research are quite interesting, offering up some destinations that might not have seemed like viable options in the past. The top ten developing countries are as follows:

1. Slovak Republic
2. Israel
3. Czech Republic
4. Estonia
5. Slovenia
6. Chile
7. Bulgaria
8. Latvia
9. Botswana
10. Lithuania

And the top ten developed countries are:1. Iceland
2. Switzerland
3. New Zealand
4. United Kingdom
5. Australia
6. Luxembourg
7. Denmark
8. Ireland
9. Germany
10. Spain

A quick look at both lists offers some perennial favorites, especially on the rankings of the developed countries. For instance, Iceland, New Zealand, and Australia have long been top destinations for adventure travelers. The list of developing countries is far more interesting however, with long time favorites Chile and Botswana making the list. But even more important is the emergence of the Eastern European countries as increasingly viable options. That region is quickly gaining a reputation for great hiking, backpacking, and paddling destinations, with amazing scenery and fantastic cultures to explore. It doesn’t hurt that they travel in the region is very affordable and not yet over run with tourists too.

To download and read the full ATDI report, click here.