In March 2022, IAAT finally had the opportunity to host our third annual Adventure Tourism Conference in beautiful Sligo.
The Conference was supported by Sligo County Council and in conjunction with Sligo Tourism, Sligo BID, Adventure Sligo, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and Call of the Wild.
Wednesday 23rd of March saw amazing local adventure activities including outdoor yoga walk, kayaking, sailing, hiking and surfing – all delivered by our friends at Adventure Sligo, with operators including Northwest Adventure Tours, Seatrails, Sligo Kayak Tours, Sligo Surf Experience. Wild West Sailing and Your Wellbeing Warrior. In the evening we were delighted to meet a host of local businesses at our tourism & hospitality showcase, kindly sponsored by Sligo BID (Sligo is proud to be a Purple Flag town).
Thursday the 24th featured the main Conference at the Sligo Park Hotel, with speakers including Paul Taylor (Cathaoirleach, Sligo County Council), Anthony Gray (Chair, Sligo Tourism), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (CEO, ITIC), Orla Carroll (Director, Fáilte Ireland), and Rob Rankin (Sustainable Travel Ireland). Minister Catherine Martin also addressed delegates, and there were two inspirational, awe-inspiring and funny keynote speeches from solo offshore sailor Joan Mulloy and mountaineer Andy Kirkpatrick – both kindly sponsored by Call of the Wild.
Two panel discussions created vibrant opinions and debate covering insurance and standards. Panelists included Peter Boland (Alliance for Insurance Reform), Det Inspector Mel Smyth (GNECB), Declan Troy (Arachas), Pat Falvey (Pat Falvey Adventure), Fiona Ryder (Consultant), Sheena Dickson (Tourism Northern Ireland), and Jim Kennedy (Atlantic Sea Kayaking). Both panels were superbly moderated by Kevin O’Callaghan (Lecturer in Outdoor Education, GMIT).
Finally, there was also an energising and informative break-out marketing workshop courtesy of Marie Brouder of Brouder Marketing, as we seek to market our businesses and the country in a post-Covid (or “living with Covid”!) world.
Sincere thanks to all the delegates, speakers, partners, sponsors, activity providers, suppliers and of course the IAAT board. And finally, a massive thank you to beautiful Sligo for welcoming us so warmly!
We now look forward to seeing everyone again (in person!) in late November 2022 – details TBC in June 2022.
Sligo boasts a stunning, uninterrupted and wild coast along the Wild Atlantic Way and this attracts international surfers and adventure seekers all year-round. There are unlimited recreational opportunities: Benbulben, Knocknarea and the Ox Mountains provide breath-taking, well-marked routes for walkers; while there is an abundance of golf courses, scenic drives and cycling routes.