23 Nov 2023

Tourism NI supports dedicated development plan for outdoor tourism sector

A dedicated development plan to grow outdoor tourism in Northern Ireland has been launched by Tourism NI and Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT)

Photo Caption: (L-R) John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI, pictured with Maria McAlister, Landscapes and Activities Manager at Tourism NI and Brendan Kenny, Chief Executive of IAAT

The 12-month joint initiative includes a range of activities such as sectoral events and networking and training opportunities.

The aim of the plan is to measure sector performance and gather insights, specifically related to the needs of visitors, and the development of existing and new outdoor activity tourism infrastructure.

The programme will involve a range of activities for the Northern Ireland tourism industry to support, ultimately raising the profile of outdoor tourism.

There is significant demand for experiences which embrace landscapes and help people to connect with nature.

Tourism NI’s latest Customer Sentiment Research indicates `to relax and unwind and to have fun’ are key motivators for intended NI trips for both ROI and NI consumers.

In addition, IAAT estimates adventure tourism makes up 30% of global tourism spend, equating to €683 billion.

Working in partnership with IAAT, Tourism NI is creating a structure to shape and develop shared action plans which will support industry to prepare for future success.

This is further underpinned by the new Tourism Strategy for Northern Ireland’s 10-year plan.

Established in 2018, Ireland’s Association for Adventure Tourism (IAAT) is the representative body for more than 250 adventure activity tourism operators on the island of Ireland.

The organisation works with adventure tourism operators to develop the sector in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Maria McAlister, Landscapes and Activities Manager at Tourism NI, said “As highlighted through Tourism NI’s extensive programme of consultation ‘Unlocking the Outdoors’, Northern Ireland has the natural assets, community support and skills to deliver a strong outdoor tourism proposition.

“This is offset by the knowledge that we need to cohere our efforts to ensure the sector can sustain in an increasingly competitive international tourism market,” she said.

“Working with IAAT, Tourism NI will advocate for sustainable, regenerative tourism and support collaborative working that drives innovation in service delivery and product development, reaching new markets and raising the profile of outdoor tourism in Northern Ireland.”

Brendan Kenny, Chief Executive of IAAT, said: “We are thrilled to embark on this important partnership with Tourism NI.

“Working together, and in conjunction with other key stakeholders, we can help ensure that outdoor tourism experiences in Northern Ireland fulfil their extraordinary potential, through sustainable practices and quality visitor management principles.”