Burren in global ‘Best in Travel 2021’ list

Burren in global ‘Best in Travel 2021’ list

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Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

The Burren EcoTourism Network has been named as a highlight in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel picks for 2021 list.

Burren Eco Tourism Network, Co Clare has been named ‘Best Tourism Project’ in the ‘Best In Community’ category for “bringing over 60 local enterprises together to become a global leader for sustainable tourism.”

Lonely Planet has unveiled a radical reimagining of its much-awaited list reflecting how the world and attitudes to travel have changed.

For 2021, Lonely Planet is looking ahead to the future of travel, recognising not only places, but also people and communities who are transforming the travel industry.

The list celebrates commitments to community, diversity and sustainability across the world with projects in Ireland and Australia amongst the most inspiring innovators.

“Travel in 2021 and beyond will be a much more considerate exercise than it has been ever before,” Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera said.

“With travellers cautiously re-engaging with the world and focusing on ensuring their impact is safe and positive for host communities, we have decided to highlight destinations and individuals that truly enable visitors to make genuine contributions through regenerative travel.”

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021 list has selected 30 inspirational people, destinations and tourism projects that shine a light on pioneering sustainable practices, regenerate local communities and promote representation in all aspects of travel.

Burren EcoTourism Network – an impressive community collaboration of over 60 local enterprises which has transformed Ireland’s Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism. Joining together to promote slow tourism, local engagement and a greater responsibility for a more sustainable future for all in the area.

All enterprises subscribe to the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark ‘Code of Sustainable Practice’. This is an online platform that measures waste output, water consumption and energy usage and encourages each business to make reductions in these areas. The Code of Practice is the only one of its kind in Ireland.

The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary 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.

Mr Dowling added: “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.

Welcoming the news, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “I would like to congratulate the Burren Ecotourism Network on being named a ‘Best Community Tourism Project’ in Lonely Planet’s prestigious Best in Travel 2021. It is a well-deserved accolade, recognising all of their hard work to become a global leader for sustainable tourism. I would also like to thank Lonely Planet for the wonderful support they have shown the island of Ireland over the years. In what has been a devastating year for travel and tourism, this accolade is really good news and will surely inspire travellers everywhere to put the Burren, Co Clare and the island of Ireland on their holiday wish-list – when the time is right.”

Lonely Planet celebrates projects ranging from restoration of the Australian bush, to conservation in Rwanda, revitalization of Medellín in Columbia and the introduction of progressive solutions in Gothenburg. From community projects in Ireland, to cultural diversity in San Diego and storytellers providing fresh perspectives, Best in Travel 2021 highlights how tourism can regenerate more responsibly once we emerge from the pandemic.

Lonely Planet started the process for the 2021 Best in Travel list by seeking nominations from Lonely Planet’s vast community of staff, writers, photographers, videographers, bloggers, publishing partners and more. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and, like the rest of the travel world, Lonely Planet hit the pause button. But other things changed too. The conversation surrounding diversity took a decisive shift. The future of travel moved towards small-group engagement and decades-old issues like overtourism came back to the forefront. As a result, Lonely Planet’s picks fit this new approach and are tailored for travel in 2021.

In addition, Lonely Planet is inviting readers to add nominations for their favourite people and places that are shaping the future of travel this year and beyond. Voting is open from today on the Best in Travel website and Lonely Planet will announce the Readers’ Choice Awards winners in January 2021.

For more information on the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 list, including images and videos of the winners visit www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel.

Award destinations can also be explored with Lonely Planet’s Guides App for free and on social media channels using #BestInTravel

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