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Adventure Travel Summit starts a journey

Lessons from the Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland

Date : 27/11/2014

The recent Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland gave Scottish representatives plenty of food for thought.

We kick off a series of articles exploring some of their key messages.

The Adventure Travel World Summit is an international gathering of professionals and businesses working in the tourism industry which aims to bring adventure travel into mainstream culture. It’s a chance to learn from and collaborate with like-minded people across the globe.

Adventure travel is often associated with outdoor adrenalin-inducing activities involving speed, getting wet or falling from heights. But it extends to activities like hiking, and mountain biking as well as conservation and learning activities. It’s important not to be constrained by the definition, but use it as a springboard for a vast range of creative approaches.

Local first

Many of the most successful adventure travel companies have small beginnings, testing out their business proposition close to home to see if the idea will float. What we’re increasingly seeing is that smaller companies are dominating adventure tourism rather than larger ones.

It’s easy to forget that locals are customers too. One of the big take home messages from the Adventure World Travel Summit was ‘think local’. The ones which thrive best think local first, beginning their ventures within their community. If the locals like it, so will your visitors. The support of the local community can prove critical to the success of the business and collaboration can help it to grow.

In Scotland we have some unique potential opportunities to develop tourism around existing community activities, for example crofting, fishing, traditional music and Scottish country dancing. Such activities could guarantee to make a memorable trip. (We’ll be following up this idea in another article in the near future.)

Opportunities to develop adventure tourism

Many of the Scottish delegates were struck by the success of Ireland’s ‘adventure’ activities such as kayaking, coasteering, climbing, snorkeling and scuba diving. They found plenty of package offers for groups, offering accommodation, food, transport all thrown in to the deal. They left with the message that, with our incredible coastlines we could be taking a leaf out of Ireland’s book.

Similarly Ireland’s ‘Wild Atlantic Way’ capitalises on the natural beauty of the Donegal coastline and draws together ways to explore, easy booking and teasers all in one place, to entice visitors. Could this be a model for collaboration that could work well in Scotland? 

SAVE tourism and fundraisers

You may not have heard of SAVE tourism (student, academic, volunteer and educational) but it is commonplace in more exotic countries. Why shouldn’t it work at home? Could there be major untapped tourism prospects, such as natural habitat restoration or wildlife conservation? 

Likewise, fundraiser tourism is booming abroad, but could Scotland host these types of activities? For example, organised cycle touring in Scotland − we have an excellent cycle route network.
(We’ll be delving a little deeper into both these subjects too, in a future article). 

We hope this has given you some fresh ideas for new ventures or exciting collaborations. If you would like to discuss your business idea please contact the Business Gateway on or call 0845 609 6611. If you run an adventure tourism business, make sure you take part in the Adventure Tourism research

Further reading

Adventure Travel World Summit

Wild Atlantic Way

Coasteering in Scotland 

Adventure Travel Intelligence Guide