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Clare welcome for Burren ‘Lonely Planet’ award

17 November 2020

The naming of the Burren Ecotourism Network in Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2021’ award scheme has been welcomed by Clare County Council.

The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, has described the inclusion of the Burren in the top 30 places to travel to in the world as a “prestigious recognition of the hard work undertaken by the local community in becoming a leader in sustainable tourism”.

The Burren Ecotourism Network, which comprises 60 local businesses promoting sustainable tourism at the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, is the only Irish entry on this year's prestigious list.

Cllr Howard said: “I want to congratulate the Burren Ecotourism Network members for their role in developing and managing an environmentally sustainable tourism product that seeks to attract people to the Burren in a way that both promotes and also protects its wealth of natural attractions. As restrictions on travel inevitably ease in the future and people mark the region down on their destination wish-list, I will look forward to people from all over Ireland and across the world coming to the Burren.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said the award is the result of many years of collaboration and commitment by Burren Ecotourism Network members and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark. This has been reinforced with financial supports from the Local Authority under the Community Support Grant Scheme.

Mr Dowling said: “In congratulating everybody involved, I also wish to emphasise the significance of this award for Clare tourism at a time when the wider domestic and international tourism sector faces unparalleled challenges because of the global pandemic.

“Clare County Council, through its development of a long-term strategy for the development of the sector in the county, has identified ecotourism as an area that presents significant growth potential and this is evidenced by Lonely Planet's recognition of the Burren and all it has to offer in the area of sustainable tourism. Clare County Council will continue to support and promote the Burren region as a model for sustainable tourism in a protected area.”

Welcoming news of the award, Carol Gleeson, who is the Council’s Manager of the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark, said: “It has been a long journey since 2008 when the concept of establishing an ecotourism network in the Burren was first looked at by Burren Connect (now the UNESCO Global Geopark) and a handful of local businesses. Since then, with support from the Clare County Council-led Geopark and other agencies, the Burren Ecotourism Network has grown from strength to strength and it is wonderful to see it receive this prestigious award.”

“The Network has always aligned itself with the principles of sustainable tourism and a requirement of membership is that each business completes the UNESCO Global Geopark’s Code of Practice,” she explained. “This Code and mutual marketing strategies continues the strong partnership between the Network and the UNESCO Global Geopark.”

Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism (Acting), Clare County Council, remarked on the “outstanding achievement” by the Burren Ecotourism Network, adding: “This leadership for sustainable tourism is the direction and objective as set out in the newly adopted County Clare Tourism Strategy 2030, Guiding our Journey to a Vibrant New Future in Tourism.”

“The 2030 vision is for Clare to be a globally renowned sustainable and vibrant destination, recognised for its rich cultural assets, its stunning and open-space landscapes, its compelling array of remarkable experiences and for its welcome and exceptional hospitality. This award marks a symbol of how this vision can be achieved,” concluded Ms O’Shea.

Page last reviewed: 17/11/20

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