The Wild Atlantic Way – A Tourism Journey
Keywords:tourism, sustainable, Wild Atlantic Way, tourism routes, impacts, community perception
The Wild Atlantic Way is possibly the most celebrated, high profile tourism initiative to be launched in Ireland in recent years. It consists of a defined touring route along the western seaboard, one of the most scenic, remote, and sensitive stretches of Irish landscape. This paper presents the principal findings from a survey of 341 tourism and hospitality product providers along the Wild Atlantic Way. The main aim of the research was to investigate the perceived impacts (economic, environmental, and socio-cultural) of this new tourism initiative on the local areas through which it passes. The results paint a generally positive picture of the effects of the route so far. However, a number of significant issues are of concern to many of the respondents; these include insufficient or inappropriate infrastructure, heightened traffic problems, increased pressure on local facilities and the perception of imbalance with regard to the dispersal of economic gain from the route. The importance of striking a balance between accessibility and sustainability is a key message which can be taken from the study.