This week saw Killarney in Co Kerry host the prestigious Adventure Travel World Summit — a gathering of the biggest names in the travel industry.
Some 700 delegates kayaked, climbed and cycled around many of the best outdoors venues in Ireland — with many tweeting and posting images of their travels all over the world.
It’s the first time the event has been held in Ireland and promises to be a huge boost to Ireland’s growing adventure travel market.
Fáilte Ireland estimates that the direct economic impact from hosting the summit would be in the region of €1m, along with the significant marketing, industry education and global networking value it will also provide.
The global world adventure travel market is estimated to be worth almost $90bn and around €852m here in Ireland.
Nathan Borchelt, senior product manager for travel and adventure with National Geographic, said Ireland was moving beyond the clichés of pubs and friendly people.
“No matter how much time I’ve spent in Ireland, it’s clear that it’s not enough,” said Nathan.
“The country exceeds every known cliché — the pubs and the rolling hills and the kind-hearted people and the Guinness.
“But, as a landscape for adventure, it feels like Ireland is defining a whole new part to its already-rich persona.
“And with all the hiking, biking, kayaking, and surfing on the Wild Atlantic Way alone, this part of Ireland may be its best-kept secret, at least for now.”
Top Canadian adventure travel bloggers Dave and Deb @ThePlanetD said Ireland could compete with any country in terms of its travel offerings.
“We’ve travelled to over 80 countries on seven continents, and The Wild Atlantic Way has one of the most diverse and strikingly beautiful landscapes we’ve ever witnessed,” they said.
“Combining the beauty of the Irish coast with the warmth and friendliness of the locals makes Ireland one of the top destinations in the world for travellers to visit.”
President and founder of Alluring Africa and Luxury Trips, Sunit Sanghrajka, was equally impressed with Ireland’s offerings.
“We were so impressed by the huge variety and number of activities planned for us,” he said.
“I have travelled to many areas of the world but I have to tell you that I was especially impressed by Ireland’s special part of it.”
CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Shaun Quinn, said that getting the summit to Ireland was an “incredible coup” for the tourism sector.