It came like a flash of lightning and disappeared with a bang as it crept over the hills of the MacGillycuddy Reek’s on route across the wild Atlantic Ocean towards its next destination, the land they call Chile (I hope I pronounced that correctly!). What could possibly make such a dramatic entrance and exit you may ask? Well, it was the spirit of the Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) 2014 that engulfed the green shores of our little island from the 6th-9th October. And again I hear you ask what on earth is the ATWS and is it contagious? Fear not, it isn’t anything that will have a long-term negative impact on you. In fact it has a positive bearing on your long-term well-being (as long as you take it easy on the nights out). So let me explain.
If you hadn’t already heard, Ireland was host to the ATTA’s 11th annual Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) in Killarney which brought together under one roof over 700 of the world’s top adventure travel media and buyers. Great but what does that mean to the person on the street? Well, as the global adventure tourism continues to grow at a rapid pace, this event provided Ireland with a unique opportunity to showcase first hand our unique culture, ecological wonders and adventurous landscapes. Equally, by trusting open our gateway for international outbound tour operators, agents, media and a host of other industry partners we were able sit our country upon their supporting shoulders and shout till our lungs gave up that here lays one of the most beautiful places on earth and do you know what? They heard our shouts.
Each person I met at the summit talked so affectionately at how wonderful this countries landscape is and most importantly how amazing its people are. From our genuine kindness and friendliness we have captured the hearts of many a wandering adventurer and believe it or not, even the Irish weather could not put a dampener on their new found love.
So after all the shouting has stopped what lays ahead for us? Well, even though the shouting may have stopped there is still an echo bouncing around the adventure globe about Ireland. We have created a tremendous legacy of what we can do in Ireland for visitors and it is now down to us all, from adventure companies, hotels, barber shops, cafes, florists, you name it, to make sure that that echo keeps moving and inspiring others to visit our green shores. Through this collective spirit all communities in Ireland will begin to feel the long-term tourism benefits that this mighty adventure storm brought us. From job creations to extending our tourism seasons, the benefits can be immense and yet true enough, the benefits I talk about are long-term and won’t be felt by all immediately. However, like any good tree a seed needs to be sowed first before it can grow successfully and already I can see the roots of the ATWS seed taking hold and it won’t be long before everyone will be booking that flight to these wild Atlantic shores in search of true beauty, adventurous landscapes and unique Irish charm. So whether you like to shout, whisper or just talk (we are renowned for it!) keep telling the story of the adventure storm that came and went in a flash but left an everlasting impression on the hearts and souls of many wandering adventurers.