The Burren EcoTourism Network in County Clare has been named on Lonely Planet's annual "Best in Travel" list for 2021 in a radical reimagining of the list.
The small community tourism network in Clare has found itself among 30 destinations, people, and tourism projects from around the world on Lonely Planet's esteemed list and has been named as the "Best Tourism Project" for the year ahead and a world leader in sustainable tourism.
Lonely Planet usually provides a bucket list of global destinations for the year ahead but shifted its focus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how people travel now - outdoors and in family groups.
The famous travel guide's list for 2021 celebrates commitments to community, diversity and sustainability across the tourism sector and recognizes the places, people, and communities who are transforming the global tourism industry with a focus on destinations that "enable visitors to make genuine contributions through regenerative travel".
The Burren EcoTourism Network, which is a collaboration of around 60 local enterprises in the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, was awarded a place on the prestigious list after it was recognized as a global leader in sustainable tourism.
The local enterprises have joined together to promote slow tourism, local engagement, and a more sustainable future for everyone in the area.
Jarlath O'Dwyer, CEO of the Burren EcoTourism Network, said that the group was "absolutely thrilled" to be placed on the list.
"We’re absolutely thrilled because it’s an acknowledgment of over a decade’s work. And that’s ten years through thick and thin, where people had to put in a lot of their own time and resources, hold on to their beliefs and stay motivated," O'Dwyer said.
Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons congratulated the network on its achievement and said that it was recognition for their tireless work over the last 10 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," Gibbons said.
Located in West Clare, the Burren is one of the most renowned tourist destinations in Ireland due to its unique karst landscape, which features glacial-era limestone, cliffs, caves, fossils, rock formations, and archaeological sites dating back more than 5,000 years.