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 Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021.
Pictured are Noirín Hegarty, Lonely Planet; Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, at the announcement.
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 Co Clare and view the wonderful community activism on show, which helps protect this stunning part of our island.”
Welcoming the news, 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:a new video highlighting the accolade, as well as the Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark, a major PR and publicity push to top travel and lifestyle journalists around the world; and extensive social media activity, including posts and news on Facebook (Tourism Ireland has 4.6 million fans worldwide), Instagram (872,000 followers) and Twitter (532,000 followers).
The island of Ireland has been particularly successful in the prestigious Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ accolade over the years – with Galway being declared the fourth best city in the world to visit in 2020, Belfast and the Causeway Coast named the Number One Region in the world to visit in 2018, the Skellig Ring drive being named a Top Ten Region to visit in 2017, Dublin named the third best city in the world to visit in 2016 and Ireland being declared the fifth best country in the world to visit in 2015.