18 February 2016
By Elaine Murphy
The Wild Atlantic Way (WAW) Passport initiative will be launched in May of this year in time for the busy summer tourism season.
The Wild Atlantic Way initiative has been a massive success for tourism growth in South West Cork and it contributed to what was a record breaking year of tourism nationally in 2015, with more than 8.5 million overseas visitors to Ireland.
The Wild Atlantic Way Passport took its inspiration from the pilgrim passport Camino de Santiago in Spain. This has been really successful in encouraging the pilgrims back to Spain time and again to complete the full Camino route in a way that might not be the case without the passport.
The Wild Atlantic Way Passport will similarly encourage repeat visits to Cork and the West of Ireland, and will also be a great resource for tourists to find the various Discovery Points along this spectacularly beautiful route, encouraging them to visit parts of Cork they might not otherwise see.
As they make their way along the Wild Atlantic Way, tourists will be able to collect official stamps to prove they have been a visitor to each area. An Post and the Fáilte Ireland Tourist Information Office network will provide the distribution outlets for visitors to collect the stamps after visiting each local Discovery Point.
The introduction of this Passport in May will be on a pilot basis.
Once the visitors have completed the route, which can be done over a number of years, they can apply for an official Wild Atlantic Way Passport. The passport will be seen as a collector’s item for visitors, and a great keepsake of their achievement in completing the route and their time spent in West Cork, which will really boost the potential for return visits again in the future.