SUPPORTING industry to grow the adventure tourism offering across Scotland was the key theme of a leading industry conference held in Dumfries and Galloway this week.
Over 100 delegates attended the dedicated practitioner day as part of the International Adventure Conference taking place near Gatehouse of Fleet this week. Supported by VisitScotland, the event aimed to provide inspiration and advice to adventure tourism and adventure recreation industries.
Delegates heard from a series of international industry experts before attending practical workshop sessions covering topics from marketing to health and safety.
The key note address was given by Brian Young, Managing Director of global travel adventure company G Adventures. Supported by a video from G Adventures founder Bruce Boon Tip, he discussed the importance of accountability and working with partners to elevate best practice.
Other guest speakers included: Deputy Director for Tourism & Major Events at the Scottish Government, Bettina Sizeland; Founder of The FlipFlopi Project, Ben Morrison; Head of Strategic Partnerships at VisitBritain, Emily Moore; Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, James Stuart.
VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward said: “We’re absolutely delighted to help support this international conference taking place in the South of Scotland, a region renowned for its natural beauty and variety of activities and outdoor pursuits on offer.
“This international event is an opportunity to show off the South of Scotland as a world class destination for adventure tourism and to build on our reputation as a place to visit, to live and to develop new ideas. With a UNESCO Biosphere designation and the home of the Europe’s First Dark Sky Park, as well as excellent green credentials, we have a real opportunity to put the South of Scotland firmly on the map as a place that embraces sustainability and is a destination worth talking about.
Duncan McConchie, Director of Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre and Chair of the local organising committee, said: “We have received a fantastic response to this The International Adventure Conference on a local and international level and it is a fantastic achievement for Dumfries & Galloway to host such a prestigious event that will help shine the spotlight on the country as a world-leading destination for adventure tourism. We will continue to work with our industry partners to build on the success of this event and explore opportunities to tap into this growing market.”
Adventure tourism has been identified as an area for growth within Scotland. Tourism Scotland 2020, the national tourism strategy, highlights ‘activities and adventure’ as a sector with real potential and already worth an estimated £759 million to the economy.
The week-long conference, which is led by the Adventure Tourism Research Association (ATRA), is taking place between June 17th to 21st.
Dr Steve Taylor, Head of the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, University of the Highlands and Islands, and one of the founding members of ATRA, said:
“We are delighted that this year’s International Adventure Conference has attracted such an influential range of speakers for the kick-off practitioner day and been so well attended by the adventure tourism community. This is the seventh iteration of the event, which started in Scotland in 2012 and has since been hosted in countries across Europe. This year we are attracting leading academics and practitioners from as far afield as South Africa, Canada and New Zealand. We are proud to welcome new colleagues and old friends alike to this wonderful corner of Scotland to discuss the exciting future of the adventure tourism sector and how the adventure tourism industry can reflect, promote and conduce the United Nations’ sustainable development goals – the inspirational theme of this year’s academic conference”.
For more information on the conference, visit www.iac2019.co.uk