A WILD Atlantic Way passport – based on the Camino passport in Spain – is to be piloted this summer.
The idea is the brainchild of FG Deputy Jim Daly.
The passport will be launched in May in time for the busy summer tourism season. This was confirmed by Fáilte Ireland in response to a recent Parliamentary Question submitted in the Dáil by Deputy Daly.
‘Fáilte Ireland has now confirmed to me that the Wild Atlantic Way Passport initiative I proposed to Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe last year, is to be introduced this coming May,’ he said.
‘I hear it myself from the people working in the tourist industry in South West Cork, that the Wild Atlantic Way has been one of the single greatest tourism initiatives ever, in terms of helping them to grow their businesses and create local employment,’ said Deputy Daly. ‘My proposal for a Wild Atlantic Way Passport took its inspiration from the pilgrim passport on the 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.’
He added that the WAW passport would encourage repeat visits to Cork and the West of Ireland. ‘It 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 and Deputy Daly said he would like to see cooperation with West Cork businesses whereby the passport could also entitle the holder to certain discounts and special deals along the route.
‘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,’ he said.