Reflecting on the Inspiring 5th Annual IAAT Adventure Tourism Conference in Fingal, Co. Dublin
With over 220 delegates attending from all over Ireland and abroad, and sponsored by Fingal County Council, the event left those in attendance informed and inspired for whatever challenges 2024 may bring to the tourism industry.
What an extraordinary two days we had at the IAAT Conference 2023!! From thrilling outdoor activities on Day 1, to a day of profound insights and discussions on Day 2 at Castleknock Hotel, the conference truly pushed the boundaries of what adventure tourism is and can be.
UNLEASHING ADVENTURE & COLLABORATION
From the early morning, we embraced the spirit of adventure, exploring the picturesque landscapes through hiking trails, biking escapades, heart-pounding rafting, and serene boating. It wasn’t just a day of recreation; it was a celebration of the incredible diversity and potential within the adventure tourism sector. And all peppered with delicious scenic lunch locations.
Connections Made, Ideas Shared
Beyond the structured agenda, the IAAT Conference fostered an environment where professionals could connect, share ideas, and build relationships that will undoubtedly shape the future of adventure tourism.
Our new B2B delegate networking event was a resounding success, facilitated by Marie Brouder of Brouder Marketing.
Rounding off day 1, we were treated to music from Tradfest and engaging conversation and networking with local Fingal Tourism businesses and our IAAT conference partners. Thank you to Declan Power and his team in Fingal County Council for organising.
A KNOWLEDGE OASIS AT THE CASTLEKNOCK HOTEL
Wednesday, November 22nd marked the commencement of Day 2 at the Castleknock Hotel.
Talks and Panels:
A Fountain of Wisdom The morning kicked off with a warm welcome from Brendan Kenny, CEO of IAAT, followed by John Quinlivan, Director of Economic, Enterprise, Tourism & Cultural Development at Fingal County Council who discussed the new Fingal Tourism Strategy, which will be launched shortly.
We were delighted to see an emphasis on visitor activity and adventure. The panel discussions were a highlight, bringing together industry stalwarts such as Hugh Flood, Maria Kennedy, René Ravenscroft, and Shane O’Doherty. Their insights, rooted in real-world experiences, illuminated the challenges and triumphs of the activity sector.
Networking Breaks: Fueling Connections
Between discussions, the morning networking break provided a perfect opportunity for professionals to exchange ideas, share experiences, and foster connections over a cup of tea or coffee.
Global Perspectives: The International View
The conference delved into the international arena with discussions led by Jean-Yves Lapeyrère, Gergana Nikolova, and Alberto Bichi. Their perspectives added a global layer to the discourse, exploring trends, challenges, and opportunities on a broader scale including funding opportunities for our delegates.
Tech Talk: Marketing Technology for the Activity Sector
Experts in marketing technology, including Andrea Carini, Chris Torres, and Orla O’Keeffe, shed light on the evolving landscape of technology in marketing, offering valuable strategies to navigate the digital realm. Bringing us in to the world of AI, an interesting topic that continued through lunchtime.
Leadership Insights: The Road Ahead
The afternoon brought together tourism leaders like Alice Mansergh, Tourism Ireland; John McGrillen, Tourism Northern Ireland; Orla Carroll, Fáilte Ireland; and Shane Young, IAAT Chair discussing the path forward for the industry.
🎙️ Keynote Address: ‘ADVENTURNOMICS’ by David McWilliams
The day reached its zenith with a riveting keynote by economist, writer, and journalist David McWilliams. His insights into the economic aspects of adventure tourism, coined as ‘Adventurnomics,’ left the audience captivated and contemplative.
Closing Thoughts: A Journey Beyond Limits
As the conference drew to a close with Shane Young, Chair of IAAT, expressing gratitude and summarising the day’s highlights, the sense of community, shared purpose, and newfound knowledge lingered.
Gratitude and Looking Forward
A heartfelt thank you to all the speakers, organisers, and attendees who made #IAAT23 a resounding success. The journey doesn’t end here; it’s a springboard for continuous collaboration, innovation, and growth within the adventure tourism community. Let’s carry the spirit of adventure forward, breaking barriers and exploring new horizons together! We look forward to seeing you in 2024.
The 2022 IAAT Adventure Tourism conference was delivered with the support of our main sponsor Fingal County Council, and in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland, Visit Dublin and FareHarbor.
The brilliant adventure activities were kindly supplied by Biking.ie, Ei Adventures, Hilltop Treks, Howth Adventures, Ireland’s Eye Ferries, Lazy Bike Tours, and Rafting.ie. Coach transport was supplied by EI Travel Group and Vagabond Tours.
Thanks also to our marketing partner Brouder Marketing, and particularly Marie Brouder, for the phenomenal support during and in the lead up to this year’s event.
And finally, a massive thank you to the IAAT Board and everyone who has made this event possible.
Please view the fantastic gallery of photographs HERE, capturing the adventure activities, B2B speed networking, tourism showcase and plenary sessions over the two days.