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Lonely Planet names Burren Ecotourism Network ‘Best Community Tourism Project’

November 20, 2020 Accolades No Comments

Reflecting how the world and attitudes to travelling have changed this year, the iconic Lonely Planet publication takes on a radical reimagining for 2021.The Best in Travel 2021 list selects 30 inspirational tourism projects from around the world in just three categories – Community, Sustainability and Diversity – with its ‘regenerative travel’ approach shining a light on pioneering sustainable practices, initiatives regenerating local communities and environments, as well as people driving more inclusive approaches to tourism.

Ireland’s Burren Ecotourism Network is listed in the Community category for ‘Best Tourism Project’, an initiative that has brought a large group of local enterprises together to transform the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism.

The Burren in County Clare, on Ireland’s celebrated Wild Atlantic Way, is one of the largest limestone areas in Europe and is internationally renowned for its moon-like landscape and unique plant life. Loaded with experiences never to be forgotten, the region’s remarkable topography has made it a world apart.

The Best in Travel experts were wowed by the Burren Ecotourism Network’s community effort, which shows how popular tourism and sustainability don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

“Home to some of Europe’s most remarkable landscapes and a couple of blockbuster attractions,” the Lonely Planet writers explain, “County Clare’s tourism honchos knew that just talking about responsible tourism and sustainability was never going to be enough. So, 2011 saw the establishment of the Burren Ecotourism Network – which today includes 70 local businesses committed to promoting the region through responsible tourism and sustainability.

“The raw material is there: the lunar-like karst landscape of the Burren is a 216-sq-mile wonderland of exposed limestone riveted through with an extraordinary mix of Mediterranean and Arctic-alpine plants, three-quarters of Irish wildflower species, and no less than 23 species of beautiful orchids. To the southwest are the magnificent 702ft-high Cliffs of Moher, a dramatic procession of dark sandstone and siltstone heads that are a standout feature of any visit to Ireland.”

Caring for this special environment and co-existing with nature is at the heart the Burren Ecotourism Network.

All of the network’s enterprises subscribe to the Burren and 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.

As a result of the network’s efforts three destinations in County Clare – Loop Head, the Burren Food Trail and the monastic site of Scattery Island – have been awarded European Destination of Excellence status for various aspects of sustainable tourism. A remarkable achievement for one single Irish county.

A magnet for walkers, geologists, botanists, creatives, foodies, archaeologists and all those seeking a true taste of Ireland, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark is eager to offer a range of sustainable holiday experiences just as soon as it is safe to travel again.

Following the Lonely Planet accolade, a new video has been created to celebrate the region’s achievement – watch here and above.

It shows that from coastal escapes, to culture discovery or family adventures, high enjoyment can be combined with low environmental impact amid the beauty of the west coast of Ireland.

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