Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) recently held its annual conference in the stunning Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion destination, with over 200 delegates attending from all over Ireland and beyond over two days. Sponsored by Newry Mourne & Down District Council, the event left those in attendance informed and inspired for whatever challenges 2023 may bring to the tourism industry.
Day one day saw delegates enjoying exciting local adventure activities in glorious winter sunshine, including extreme e-biking, foraging, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and stand-up paddle boarding. That evening then featured a local tourism showcase at the iconic Slieve Donard hotel, with over 50 local businesses exhibiting their unique offerings, live music and plenty of networking opportunities enjoyed by all.
The second day then had a full schedule of topical panel discussions with key insights from industry leaders such as John McGrillen (CEO, Tourism NI), Paul Kelly (CEO, Fáilte Ireland), Louise Finnegan (Tourism Ireland), Joanne Stewart (Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance), Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (Irish Tourism Industry Confederation) and Peter Boland (Alliance for Insurance Reform).
To finish what was a truly inspiring couple of days, the keynote of the 2022 conference was delivered by the phenomenal Damian Browne, who spoke of his extraordinary recent solo row from New York to Galway before an electric interview on stage with Pól O’Conghaile (Travel Editor, Irish Independent) which left delegates going home invigorated to “point your boat in the right direction and keep going”.
Chairman of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Councilor Michael Savage advised “We are delighted that the IAAT committee chose our destination to hold such a prestigious event ad were further delighted to be the main event sponsor for the conference. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council were thrilled to be able to provide such a unique platform to showcase the adventure and beauty of the region to everyone attend”.
Reflecting on IAAT’s fourth annual conference, IAAT Chief Executive Brendan Kenny said,
“We are absolutely thrilled to have finally brought the Adventure Tourism Conference to Northern Ireland, and specifically to the Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion destination. We’re in a vital period of recovery for tourism on the island of Ireland and so to see and hear such positivity and resilience amongst those in attendance is encouraging for what will surely be some challenging days ahead.”
The 2022 IAAT Adventure Tourism conference was delivered with the support of our main sponsor Newry, Mourne & Down District Council, and in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.