Sustainable Tourism set to be the focus of Ireland’s Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions annual Conference

Thursday, October 12, 2023. 4:39pm

Building a sustainable tourism sector is set to be a major focal point at the upcoming Association of Visitor Experiences and Attractions (AVEA) annual conference which will take place at the eco-friendly Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, County Clare on October 23rd and 24th.

Catherine Flanagan CEO at AVEA says, “We will be placing a major focus on the industry’s environmental responsibility, social equity, economic health and our cultural vitality. A number of experts in each of these areas will share their expertise and knowledge with our conference delegates as we work towards building a robust yet sustainable tourism model.”

Catherine Flanagan

Over 200 of Ireland’s leaders, operators and employees in Ireland’s tourism attraction and experience sectors will gather for the conference in County Clare, a location which is leading the charge in sustainable tourism with its current global bid to become an officially recognised and certified sustainable tourism destination. 

To reduce the carbon impact of the conference, the organisers are offering a return coach transfer from Dublin for delegates, they will also enjoy a complimentary tour and coffee at Aillwee Burren Experience, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, King John’s Castle and the International Rugby Experience. All delegates will also enjoy a learning journey while in County Clare, travelling to the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark, and Caherconnell Stone Fort.

Catherine says, “The theme of the conference is ‘World Class Experiences: Local Authenticity’.  Visitor attractions are key destination drivers for international visitors, playing a central role in drawing tourists to the island, to our capital, and onwards into the regions.  The uniquely Irish ‘things to see and do’ – built heritage, beautiful landscapes, immersive experiences – are at the heart of how Ireland is viewed by our overseas tourists, and they are the repositories for our culture, heritage, and rich tapestry of stories. By visiting peer sites we all learn ‘best examples’ and share knowledge of how to do things differently and better.

County Clare offers an excellent example of a destination that is pulling together for global sustainable tourism goals and that is something that we can learn from across the industry and replicate across the country for an island-wide approach.”

During the conference, delegates will also hear from tourism leaders Jenny de Saulles (Director of Sector Development Fáilte Ireland), Alice Mansergh (CEO designate of Tourism Ireland), Eimear Callaghan (Head of Experience and Industry Development, Tourism Northern Ireland), and Eoghan O’Mara Walsh (CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation.)

International speakers include the Head of Hampton Court Palace Rachel Mackay and Rich Neville, who led the operations teams for ABBA Voyage and the BBC Earth Experience in London. Kelly Molson, MD of Rubber Cheese, will report on changing trends for booking experiences online, and John Harte from ATS Heritage will reveal findings from AVEA research on how visitor attractions meet the requirements of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community. 

 For details on the upcoming AVEA conference see,

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