The successful management and promotion of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as a sustainable destination has been officially recognised by one of the world’s foremost tourism and travel award schemes.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has named the Geopark as one of 18 finalists for its 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, the winners of which will be announced at a tourism summit in Hainan, China tomorrow (Thursday, 24 April 2014).
Carol Gleeson, Project Manager for Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has travelled to China for the WTTC ceremony and tourism summit which is also being attended by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Leo Varadkar TD.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry recognising sustainable tourism best practices in businesses and destinations worldwide, ranging from local destinations to global hotel groups, international airlines, luxury tour operators and small eco-lodges.
Award applications were received this year from 56 countries, representing all continents. The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has been shortlisted alongside Bonito (Brazil) and Temes S.A. – Costa Navarino (Greece) as ‘Destination Award’ finalists for “showing commitment to supporting and delivering sustainable tourism best practices in their destinations.”
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s ceremony in Hainan, Carol Gleeson said the award nomination is testament to the partnership approach to promoting sustainable tourism in the Burren that has been developed by regional development agencies and the local community.
She explained: “Since 2008, Clare County Council has been working in the Burren to develop a truly sustainable tourism destination that gives direct benefits to the local community, promotes and celebrates local culture and produce, preserves the environment and provides a great experience for our visitors. This has been achieved with great support and partnership from local communities and businesses and agencies responsible for tourism and conservation and local development.”
“This work includes establishing the Burren Ecotourism Network as far back as 2008, achieving UNESCO recognised Global Geopark status in 2011 and providing environmental and business training, developing a destination brand, promoting certification, and importantly linking high responsible tourism standards with economic benefit to the area. The Geopark has also attracted €2.2m funding through the EU Life programme to develop an international sustainable tourism destination model,” Ms. Gleeson added.
According to Costas Christ, Chairman of the Judging Panel: “Each year, the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards recognize sustainable tourism best practices in action, helping to transform the Travel & Tourism industry based upon the principles of environmentally friendly operations, support for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, and direct benefits to the social and economic well-being of local people in travel destinations around the world. This year’s Finalists continue to demonstrate that when carefully managed, tourism can be a powerful force for improving livelihoods and protecting our planet for future generations.”
Further information on the Burren & Cliffs of Moher is available on www.burrengeopark.ie. For more on the 2014 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards visit www.wttc.org/tourismfortomorrow.