LIFE project wins coveted award for sustainable

The GeoparkLIFE project (LIFE11 ENV/IE/000922) has won a prestigious National Geographic prize for its efforts to protect and enhance the pristine environment of Burren in western Ireland.

The Destination Leadership award recognises the efforts made by the GeoparkLIFE project consortium to encourage the local tourist industry to embrace sustainable practices. The prize, one of National Geographic’s World Legacy Awards, reflects the project’s success in combining the goals of environmental protection and tourism development.

Representatives of the GeoparkLIFE project received the accolade at ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism convention.

“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,” says Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark.

She adds that, “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.

The Burren area of County Clare is famed for its dramatic limestone landscape. Burren and the nearby Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast attract close to one million tourists a year.

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