Working with our partners the Burren Ecotourism Network, we are looking to raise the standard of sustainable practices among tourism businesses across the entire destination of the Geopark and across all types of businesses. To achieve this we have developed the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism. The purpose of the Code of Practice is to develop a sustainable ethos and practices amongst a critical mass of tourism businesses in a destination.
The Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism
The Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism and its supporting training and mentoring programme is essentially a framework that will allow businesses in a destination to come together to build a sustainable tourism offering, the framework also allows each business that engages in the code to develop an environmental action plan.
The Geopark believes that the sustainability of the businesses within a destination along with the sustainability of products and experiences they offer are contribute hugely to the sustainability of the destination as a whole. Through a partnership with the Burren Ecotourism Network, we are working to establish the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark as a premier internationally-recognised sustainable tourism destination.
How it Began
The partnership of the Geopark and the Burren Ecotourism Network has piloted a number of ecotourism certification programmes since 2008 to strengthen the capability of enterprises in the network in the areas of: use of natural resources, resource efficiency, use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, waster reduction and carbon footprint reduction. The outcome of the pilots lead to the development of a Burren specific code of practice for sustainable tourism which is a common set of core principles that can be adopted by all businesses in the Geopark irrespective of size and activity. What we are seeking to achieve is unique in terms of raising standards across an entire destination and across a full spectrum of providers.
The Code of Practice includes 6 key areas of good practice that must be achieved by each member of the Burren Ecotourism Network and also those businesses looking to join the network. The training programme is highly practical providing enterprises with the tools to establish baseline information and benchmark standards in the areas of energy, water, waste-water and waste management. The Code of Practice training programme also includes modules on interpretation, visitor communication, sustainable transport and conservation. At the end of the training programme each business is equipped with the necessary guidelines, templates and resources to draft an environmental policy that is appropriate to their own business and on reaching the code each businesses will have crafted an environmental action plan.
The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark’s ultimate aim is to spearhead sustainable tourism that develops and promotes the area as a truly special encounter-rich destination, strengthens the local economy and improves the visitor experience. To achieve this goal, we have developed a Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism to work on the following areas:
The Burren Ecotourism Network
The Geopark has partnered with the Burren Ecotourism Network to develop the region as a sustainable tourism destination. The Burren Ecotourism Network is a network of tourism businesses who share the vision of establishing the Burren as a premier internationally-recognised sustainable tourism region, ensuring the future economic and social growth and sustainable development of its communities, environment and heritage.
The Burren Ecotourism Network has set the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism as a minimum level of training and accreditation that each business wishing to join the network must achieve. The Code of Practice includes 6 key points of environmental good practice which include waste, water and energy and waste-water management as well as conservation, interpretation and visitor communication.
Benefits for local businesses who join the Network and work with the Geopark
- UNESCO strategic destination branding and marketing
- Enhanced relationships with state bodies
- Higher quality and standards for businesses
- More co-operation, collaboration and networking
- Training and skills enhancement
- Data and measurement support
- Cost and energy savings
- Global connections and international networks
- Membership to a local marketing group who share ideas, techniques and benefit from professional media services.