(Above: Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth at Lisfannon Beach, Buncrana, as she sets off on her challenge to cycle the entire length of the Wild Atlantic Way)
Hundreds of thousands of people in Scandinavia, and elsewhere around the world, are set to read all about Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way. Finnish travel blogger Satu Vänskä-Westgarth is about to take on the “challenge of her lifetime” – cycling the entire Wild Atlantic Way, or some 2,500 kms along Ireland’s western seaboard over the next five weeks.
Tourism Ireland invited Satu to undertake the marathon cycle – to experience our newest visitor attraction and then inspire her readers and followers to come and discover it for themselves. As a self-confessed “total newbie when it comes to bike touring or biking”, this will be the challenge of her lifetime.
Satu arrived in Donegal over the weekend and set off from Malin Head on Tuesday. Altogether, she will spend a week in Donegal, exploring – and then blogging about – this part of Ireland. She plans to stay in the Malin Hotel, Rathmullan House, Lake House Country Hotel near Portnoo, Bayview Country House in Ardara, Ardlenagh View B&B near Donegal town and the Sandhouse
Hotel & Marine Spa. She plans to cycle approximately 100 kms each day, five days a week, and then take the weekends off to rest.
Her aim is to visit almost every corner of the West of Ireland, arriving in Kinsale, Co Cork, on September 5. She will be joined by a Norwegian friend for the first two weeks and an English friend for the final few weeks of the journey.
Satu will document her five-week journey, with daily updates on her ‘Destination Unknown’ travel-blog, as well as on the popular online magazine, Skimbaco Lifestyle.
Tourism Ireland has set up a dedicated page on its website Ireland .com about Satu’s adventure – which she has named “Ride Wild 2014”. Readers can also follow Satu’s journey on social media profiles, as well as on Tourism Ireland’s Facebook page and Twitter stream (using hashtag #RideWild2014). Already, her adventure has sparked the interest of the travel media in her adopted country, Norway – with an article appearing on the popular travel website boarding.no.
Aileen Hickey, Tourism Ireland’s manager in the Nordic Region, said: “Satu’s five-week cycle promises to be a really effective way of engaging with people through social media, sparking their curiosity about the Wild Atlantic Way. She is looking forward to sampling some of the many activities on offer along the route – from surfing to sea kayaking, hiking to horse-riding. Her blog is extremely popular and she will be posting lots of great photos and details of her cycle online – as she explores the towns and villages of the Wild Atlantic Way and inspires her readers to come and discover this part of Ireland for themselves. Blogs and social media are recognised as strong influencers for prospective holidaymakers and we regularly work with them in promoting the island of Ireland.
“The most recent figures available from the CSO show that we welcomed almost 100,000 Nordic visitors to Ireland in the first six months of this year. Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotional activity under way throughout 2014 – to keep that momentum going.”
This is just one element of Tourism Ireland’s extensive programme of promotions to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way around the world this year. The Wild Atlantic Way is being promoted by Tourism Ireland across a range of platforms including TV, print and online advertising; on Ireland.com and through social media channels; at major international consumer and trade fairs; through familiarisation visits for influential travel agents, tour operators, as well as travel and lifestyle journalists and bloggers from around the world; and through Tourism Ireland’s promotional material and brochures.
Satu Vänskä-Westgarth is a well-known Finnish travel blogger, living in Lillehammer, Norway. She has been writing her blog for five years.
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