Cover Page of the ATDI Report 2020 Edition

Cover Page of the ATDI Report 2020 Edition

Adventure Tourism Development Index Report published in Companion with the GSTC Report

The GSTC is excited to share that this year’s Adventure Tourism Development Index (ATDI) report was published with the ‘GSTC Global Destination Sustainability Report’ as its companion report. The ATDI is an international ranking that assesses countries according to their adventure travel competitiveness. The ATDI ranks countries with the following 10 categories:

Safe & Welcoming

  • Sustainable Development Policy
  • Safety & Security
  • Health
  • Natural Resources


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Adventure Resources


  • Cultural Resources
  • Humanitarian
  • Infrastructure
  • Image

The 2020 Edition Adventure Travel Development Index Report

The 2020 Edition of the ATDI report was created in a joint initiative from the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies (GWU IITS) and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA). The report is geared towards professionals working in tourism development, such as Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), or other public tourist institutions. 

The ATDI Report is a tool for adventure travel destination stakeholders to measure their competitiveness against other destinations. This allows them to identify strengths and weaknesses for the development of a strong adventure travel market. 

Furthermore, it addresses what could help these adventure travel destinations become more competitive in changing times. To explore this further, ATDI chose to partner with GSTC.

Elements of the ‘Global Destination Sustainability Report’

Over the years, the GSTC established international sustainable tourism standards. They also provide accreditation for sustainable tourism programs and companies. The GSTC ‘Global Destination Sustainability Report’ was designed to focus more on the sustainability dimensions of adventure travel destinations. The companion report analyzes 24 destinations that have applied the GSTC Destination Criteria and Standards

These geographically diverse destinations vary in their level of tourism development. When used as a companion piece to the ATDI, the GSTC analysis provides additional insights into destination sustainability challenges and opportunities. While the ATDI is focused on country-level insights, the GSTC-D report is local in scope. 

The Top 2020 Countries

The countries that are ranked, are separated into two categories. The two categories are developed and developing countries. This year, Iceland maintains the top position of the world’s most competitive adventure travel destination, in the developed country rankings. Respectively, in the developing country ranking, the Czech Republic is at the top.

Key Findings as a Result of the Reports

Finally, the release of this year’s ATDI Report occurred during the global pandemic of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This pandemic caused a shutdown of the global tourism industry, and is forecasted to cost the industry 100 million jobs. 

However, ATDI suggests there is still hope for the future of adventure travel. Countries are protecting more of their lands, they’re increasing their mitigation of climate change and supporting more entrepreneurs. 

Additionally, nature-based travel is seen as safer for individuals compared to crowded city destinations. Therefore, ATDI believes adventure travel companies could become even more competitive post COVID-19. 

Benefits of the ATDI and GSTC Report

Finally, both reports hope to provide destination planners and marketers fresh insights on how to manage their destination with a holistic approach. The approach would consist of honoring competitiveness in the marketplace and long-term sustainability. This would allow destinations to thrive not only economically, but socially and environmentally, as well, benefitting all stakeholders. 

The 2020 Edition of the Adventure Tourism Competitiveness Index’ and the companion report ‘GSTC Global Destination Sustainability Report’ are available for free on the ATTA website.