This is how Mayo Sports Tourism Officer Donal Newcombe describes the new Atlantic on Bike European tourism project, a three-year initiative aimed at increasing visitor numbers and boosting the local economies of participating locations.
The project is a new cycle route from Scandinavia to Spain via Ireland.
Mayo is one of 22 European partners across six countries
– Ireland, the UK, Norway, Spain, Portugal and France – meaning one of the main features of the project is strong collaboration and integrated learning.
“We have conferences twice a year in different countries and I think one of the best things about the project is getting to look at different ideas, getting over barriers and languages and collaborating to get the name out there,” Mr. Newcombe says.
Total project funding of €4.5 million was provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the INTERREG Atlantic Area Programme.
Donal says this funding allowed partners to bring an idea to life, an idea which is now on track to benefit all regions involved not only in terms of tourism, but health and fitness too.
“Funding is key to projects like these,” Mr. Newcombe says. “It’s great to be backed by Europe and to be able to work with other partners to bring this to life.
“Getting to work with different countries is huge especially for our tourism team as one of the main ideas of tourism is to collaborate with different sectors. That’s a key part of it and it brings huge benefits.”
Donal adds that cycling has boomed in the country in recent years and that Mayo’s Greenway has made its contributions.
One of the main impacts of the Atlantic on Bike project is the ability to provide safe and supported facilities and to improve overall cycling infrastructure in Ireland for both domestic and international cyclists.