"Change the world...take a vacation."

Shannon Stowell, president of Adventure Travel Trade Association, makes his case for how we can change the world by going on vacation in a new TEDxBend video.
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There is such thing as overtourism and it's leaving countries in worse shape than before tourists invaded.

Adventure Travel Trade Association President Shannon Stowell starts off his TEDx Talk grim, with stories that challenge the common assumption that mass tourism generates healthy economies.

In Cancun, Mexico, and Bali, for example, the locals have trouble getting access to water because mass tourism uses it up. As another example, 28 million visitors overshadow the 55,000 locals in Venice, Italy.

But there’s good news. In this 17-minute talk, Stowell reveals principles of a tourism model that benefits communities, protecting nature and culture. It’s called adventure travel and Stowell believes it has the power to drive conservation, promote peace, and bring economic value to those who need it most.

“Good adventure travel can immunize against certain evils,” Stowell says.

Adventure travel is visiting a natural environment or remote location with the sole purpose of active physical participation and exploration of a new experience or culture.

Stowell suggests that travelers ask lodges or tour groups three simple questions to investigate whether the business is a responsible investment: 

  • What investments have you made to be environmentally responsible?
  • What programs do you have in place to benefit and involve local people?
  • What prof certify does your company have?

Sixty five percent of revenue is remaining in Jordan after adventure travel, compared to the 14 percent remaining after mass tourism, according to data from the U.S. Agency for International Development and ATTA’s adventure travel industry snapshot.

“Adventure travel has forever changed my assumptions about other people and about the world,” he says. “We really can change ourselves and the world by going on vacation.”


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