There are three broad aims for WATO:
- Marketing and Publicity
Annual work programmes are agreed along the following themes:
- Work regionally to ensure that all businesses in the regions are aware of the opportunities available to them by working through Visit Wales, and to assist in signposting them to do this better and more often. Along with this will come increasingly accurate databases on activity businesses and organisations in each region, which will be invaluable in terms of development, marketing, promotion and sharing of best practice.
- Identify gaps in activity tourism marketing in Wales and work with partners, principally Visit Wales, but also the regional and other national partners, to ensure that activity marketing is current and integrated. The reason gaps emerge is that the activity sector is dynamic and barriers to new businesses are low, so new products can suddenly bloom in a region, but be missed by the national campaigns. An example of this is marine wildlife tourism in SW Wales.
- Share best practice nationally from the experience in the regions. For example, Pembrokeshire has embedded training for the sector linked to sustainability and environmental issues, while Brecon Beacons has led on an emergency email alert system, and Snowdonia has pioneered sectoral communications and newsletters. There is an obvious opportunity for each region to learn from the other, while respecting regional diversity.
- Work with Visit Wales to improve the imagery available to be used in the promotion and information provision of activity tourism. This approach will be both proactive, in the regions endeavoring to supply images to Visit Wales, and reactive in peer-reviewing the images held by Visit Wales to ensure they are relevant and appropriate.
Development of Environmental Outdoor Charter groups – each region has an Environmental Outdoor Charter group with the shared vision to secure the collective engagement of the outdoor sector operating in Wales to ensure to the sustainable use of the environment and natural resources of Wales.
Wales Adventure Tourism Organisation (WATO) Definition of Adventure and Associated Activities
(in relation to the Visit Wales Self Accreditation Scheme – excludes petrol & blood sports)
“Adventure is where the focus is on engaging with the natural environment in a physically challenging manner where skill and an element of risk are central to the experience and the participant seeks to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the natural environment in a peaceful manner.”
The core ‘guided activities’ that fall within the outdoor sector definition, as defined by inspection/accreditation schemes for Adventure Activities in the UK are listed here.