Tuesday 27 September 2016

€10 Wild Atlantic Way passport to help reboot rural post offices 

Have passport, will travel

Published 30/05/2016 | 13:47

Wild Atlantic Way passport (inset) with the SKellig Islands. Image: Fáílte Ireland.
Wild Atlantic Way passport (inset) with the SKellig Islands. Image: Fáílte Ireland.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O'Donovan with Foynes postmistress Maeve McNamara. Photo: Pat Moore.
Ryan Tubridy is pictured in the Buncrana Post Office getting his Wild Atlantic Way passport stamped after visiting Inishowen by Postmaster, Christian McGinley. Photo: Clive Wasson
Wild Atlantic Way Passport: Front cover
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O'Donovan with John McConnell, Innovation and quality, An Post, Foyne headmistress Maeve McNamara and Fiona Monaghan, Head of Wild Atlantic Way, Failte Ireland. Photo: Pat Moore.

A new visitor passport by Fáilte Ireland and An Post hopes to drive tourists into rural post offices.

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The hardback booklet (see gallery above) can be stamped at 188 Discovery Points along the Wild Atlantic Way, providing a unique souvenir of Ireland.

The passports and stamps are available at over 130 post offices along the coastal touring route, as well as at Dublin's GPO and the post office on St. Andrew's Street. 

Similar visitor keepsakes are popular on classic tourist routes ranging from Spain's Camino de Santiago to the Appalachian Trail. 

"We want to deepen visitor engagement and encourage those who travel along the route to slow down, dwell longer and immerse themselves in the local towns and villages of the west coast," said Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Patrick O'Donovan. 

"The local Post Office is at the heart of these communities,” he added. 

Ryan Tubridy is pictured in the Buncrana Post Office getting his Wild Atlantic Way passport stamped after visiting Inishowen by Postmaster, Christian McGinley. Photo: Clive Wasson
Ryan Tubridy is pictured in the Buncrana Post Office getting his Wild Atlantic Way passport stamped after visiting Inishowen by Postmaster, Christian McGinley. Photo: Clive Wasson
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O'Donovan with Foynes postmistress Maeve McNamara. Photo: Pat Moore.
Wild Atlantic Way Passport: Front cover

Ryan Tubridy (above) was one of the first to have his passport stamped today, when he popped into the Buncrana post office during a weeklong series of outside broadcasts forming part of Fáilte Ireland’s summer marketing campaign.

"This colourful, keepsake Passport is a great addition to our range of products and services and will help to drive footfall into rural Post Offices along the route," said An Post's Director of Innovation and Quality, John McConnell.

The Wild Atlantic Way has been a massive domestic success since its launch in 2014, with Fáilte Ireland set to invest a further €19m this year. 

International awareness of the route remains "modest", however, as chairman Michael Cawley said at the launch of its 2016 tourism plan earlier this year.

Most overseas visitors surveyed are unaware of the route. 

“The passport is also neatly placed to encourage a return trip for those that have part-completed their passport," said Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of the Wild Atlantic Way.

For every 20 new stamps collected in a passport, visitors can call into Tourism Information Offices to receive a Wild Atlantic Way gift. 

Visitors who purchase a passport are also entered into a draw for "a holiday of a lifetime along the Wild Atlantic Way", Fáilte Ireland said.

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