Adventure and Outdoor Tourism - Ireland - May 2012
In both 2009 and 2010, Ireland has been ranked in the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s Adventure Tourism Development Index as one of the top ten developed countries in the world with the potential to become a major adventure tourism destination. The natural environment of Ireland is suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities, having mountainous regions, open grassland and forest spaces, and access to both inland waterways and loughs, and the open sea.
With an estimated value of £90-100 million in NI and €1.3-1.5 billion in RoI for 2012, outdoor and adventure tourism has been identified as a key development area in both NI and RoI. ‘Soft adventure’ activities have some of the greatest potential for growth across Ireland, whilst marine tourism is also an area of key focus for RoI tourism bodies.
Almost two thirds of all participants in outdoor and adventure tourism in both NI and RoI are domestic visitors. However, despite being in the minority in terms of visitor numbers, overseas visitors generate significantly more revenue when engaging in activity tourism in Ireland.
Some questions answered in this report include:
- Which outdoor and adventure activities appeal most to tourists in Ireland? – Do visitors prefer more extreme types of activities or more relaxing endeavours?
- What can Ireland offer to differentiate it from other countries in the provision of outdoor and adventure activities? – What can Ireland offer overseas visitors that other potential tourism destinations can’t? What is the best way to help Ireland stand out as an adventure tourism destination?
- What factors are driving interest in the sector? – Is health and fitness driving the need for outdoor activities, or is the need for something new and adventurous driving the market?
- What types of activities and breaks are competing with the outdoor and adventure tourism sector? – What threat is posed by alternative offerings, such as heritage tourism and traditional types of holiday?
- Is usage of outdoor and adventure tourism affected by cost concerns? Has the recession impacted expenditure? – What barriers do cost present to visitors?
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