Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare is the only Irish destination to be named in the inaugural Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100, details of which were announced today.
The Global Top 100 is a joint initiative of TravelMole.com, Vision on Sustainable Tourism, Totem Tourism and Green Destinations and recognises destinations around the world that have adopted sustainable tourism practices.
Nominated by Ecotourism Ireland, Loop Head Tourism joins a host of well known global destinations in the Top 100 List, including the New Forest and Lake District National Parks (United Kingdom), Rapa Nui – Easter Island (Chile), Vancouver (Canada), La Palma (The Canaries, Spain), Etosha National Park (Namibia), Svalbard (Norway) and Wild Coast (South Africa).
Cillian Murphy, Chair of Loop Head Tourism commented: “Loop Head’s inclusion in this prestigious list is a great honour for everyone concerned. It is the result of of a concerted voluntary effort to take responsibility for ensuring the long term sustainability of our community. We have set ourselves the target of becoming a best practice example of how tourism in a rural area should be developed and the award today goes a long way to validating the choices we have made in the last 5 years to make that happen.”
“The tourism industry needs to take more responsibility and become a vocal leader in the drive toward a more sustainable world and given the community level that most tourism industries operate from, it is without doubt, in the most practical position to take on that role and should be in the vanguard of promoting sustainable practices. Loop Head Tourism has stood up to the plate in this regard and much of what we do is based on the goal of making the peninsula a better place to live in, we do it first for ourselves and so it becomes a better place to visit as a result.
“We have worked with Clare County Council, Failte Ireland and taken advice from companies such as Eco-Tourism Ireland to ensure that tourism is something that becomes a means for a marginalised community to survive into the future, ensuring our young people have jobs and that we don’t compromise our heritage, culture or landscape in the process. We live here, there are many reasons why we do but all of them are what makes it a fantastic place to visit, so it is in our own self interest to make sure we retain all the reasons we live here thus ensuring the sustainability of both ourselves and the area into the future.
“With this in mind it will be vital that a strong sustainability ethos and grounding in the fundamentals and benefits of responsible tourism should be a necessity in staffing within the tourism industry at policy, strategic and implementation levels within local and regional development authorities such as Clare County Council and Failte Ireland. By trusting in and allowing small destinations to take control of their own development and subsequently facilitating that, it may also prove to be a key driver for the wider long term goal of a more sustainable society. We don’t see responsible tourism as being a niche product, it should simply be best practice for the tourism industry globally,” added Mr. Murphy.
Donnagh Gregson, Chair of the Clare Tourism Forum described Loop Head Peninsula’s inclusion in the Global Top 100 as a “coup for Clare and Irish tourism”.
“This outstanding achievement is yet another example of how County Clare is to the forefront of promoting sustainable tourism practices and is testament to the partnership approach that has been developed by Loop Head Tourism and the local community, in conjunction with Clare County Council, Failte Ireland and other key partners,” she added.
Ms. Gregson continued: “Being included in for the Global Top 100 will greatly help the efforts of Loop Head Tourism and the local community in communicating the wonder and diversity of the destination to the worldwide visitor, as well as demonstrating that Clare tourism operators take sustainability seriously.”
Mary Mulvey, CEO of Ecotourism Ireland commented: “Loop Head deserves to be on this List of 100 green destinations. Despite Irish Tourism not having a clear Sustainable Tourism Policy at either individual business or destination level, they have led the way to show best practice.”
She added: “Two leading Ecotourism Operators, Dolphinwatch Carrigaholt and Purecamping have been certified to Global Sustainable Tourism Review (GSTR) standards by Ecotourism Ireland and are in the process of being recertified for the 2015 season. The Loop Head Peninsula has supported many projects that preserve local culture and heritage and a new Wild Atlantic Way guide to heritage operated mainly by community operators. The redevelopment of Loop Head Lighthouse provides a case study in how small scale tourism can provide more benefits to a destination.”
The inclusion of Loop Head Peninsula in the Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 is the latest international accolade for Loop Head Peninsula which was named Best Place to Holiday in Ireland by the Irish Times in 2013 and was named winner of the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) Award in 2010. The Peninsula was also shortlisted in the ‘Best Destination for Responsible Tourism’ category of the 2013 World Responsible Tourism Awards. For more visit www.loophead.ie.
The Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100 is the result of a selection process by 30 international experts in tourism sustainability. The Top 100 selection can be found in: www.greendestinations.info.