Geopark wins National Geographic World Legacy Award09.03.2016
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark has today (Wednesday, 9 March 2016) been recognised as a Global leader in sustainable destination development.
The Geopark was named winner of the Destination Leadership award by The National Geographic in their prestigious international awards programme, the World Legacy Awards.
The Geopark, which is managed by Clare County Council and receives support and funding from the Geological Survey of Ireland and Failte Ireland, won the Destination Leadership category of The National Geographic World Legacy Awards for its tourism for conservation project, GeoparkLIFE.
The annual scheme honours tourism companies, organisations and destinations regarded as leaders in sustainable tourism best practices.
Cllr. Mary Howard, Leas Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, speaking following today’s awards ceremony at the ITB Berlin Convention in Germany, said the award win “is testament to the partnership approach to managing sustainable tourism in the Burren that has been developed over the years by Clare County Council, regional development agencies and the local community.”
Gerard Dollard, Director of Services, Clare County Council commented, “Since 2006, 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 visitor experience. This has been achieved with great support and partnership from local communities and businesses and the agencies responsible for tourism, conservation and local development.”
Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark said, “The Destination Leadership Award is a category for destinations demonstrating environmental best practices, protection for cultural and natural heritage, benefits to local people and educating travellers on the principles of sustainable tourism. The recognition received from such a prestigious and well-respected organisation is a ringing endorsement of the work with our partners over a number of years.”
“This work includes facilitating the establishment of the Burren Ecotourism Network achieving UNESCO Global Geopark status, UNESCO site designation, providing environmental and business training, and most importantly linking high responsible tourism standards with economic benefit to the area and was a key component of attracting €2.2m funding through the EU Life programme to develop an international sustainable tourism destination model,” Ms. Gleeson added.
Christopher Sinclair, Chair, Burren Ecotourism Network said, “This award will elevate the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as one of the leading sustainable tourism destinations. It highlights the quality well-managed tourism products that benefit the local community while providing an exceptional experience to the visitor”.
The GeoparkLIFE project works with tourism businesses to develop sustainable ethos, practices and tourism products, to work with government agencies and site owners in developing integrated management practices at popular heritage sites and to enable to communities to lead and participate in active conservation on tourism sites.
Global Geopark status was first awarded to the Burren together with the Cliffs of Moher in 2011 for their outstanding geological and cultural heritage and has resulted in the region joining a global network of over 100 Geoparks worldwide. The Geopark was designated as a UNESCO site following a vote at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference in Paris in November 2015. A formal link between the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and the Stone Forest Geopark (Shilin Geopark) was also agreed last year between Clare County Council and Yunnan Province in the People’s Republic of China.