The Burren Ecotourism Network in Co Clare has been named a ‘Best Community Tourism Project’ by Lonely Planet. The global travel company unveiled the accolade in its prestigious Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021.
Reflecting how the world and attitudes towards travel have changed this year, Lonely Planet has completely re-imagined its annual Best in Travel choices. For 2021, Lonely Planet has decided to recognise the places and people demonstrating a genuine commitment to community, diversity and sustainability across the world.
Naming the Burren Ecotourism Network one of ten winners in its new ‘Best in Community’ category, Lonely Planet described it as “an impressive community collaboration of local enterprises which has transformed Ireland’s Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism”.
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, said: “I would like to congratulate the Burren Ecotourism Network on being recognised as one of the best Community Tourism Projects in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021. This is an internationally-renowned accolade for the group and well deserved. In such a challenging year for the tourism industry, I am heartened to see Ireland and, in particular, the Burren Ecotourism Network become world leaders in sustainable tourism. When the time is right, I would encourage both domestic and international tourists alike to visit County Clare and view the wonderful community activism on show, which helps protect this stunning part of our island.”
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.
He 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,” said Mr. Dowling. “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, Clare County Council’s Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, commented, “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.”
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.”
Although it is not possible to welcome international holidaymakers here right now, Tourism Ireland continues to highlight to keep the island of Ireland ‘front-of-mind’ with prospective visitors for future holidays, until such time as they can visit again. Tourism Ireland’s promotional activity to spread the word about this Lonely Planet accolade will include: