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 on Tuesday in its prestigious Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021.
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 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".
What is The Burren Ecotourism Network?
The Burren Ecotourism Network is an impressive community collaboration of over 60 local enterprises which has transformed Ireland’s Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark into a global leader for sustainable tourism. Joining together to promote slow tourism, local engagement and a greater responsibility for a more sustainable future for all in the area.
All enterprises subscribe to the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark ‘Code of Sustainable Practice’. This is an online platform that measures waste output, water consumption and energy usage and encourages each business to make reductions in these areas. The Code of Practice is the only one of its kind in Ireland.
The full Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 List is:
Best in Sustainability
● Best City Stay - Gothenburg, Sweden. Topping the Global Destinations Sustainability Index, the city has introduced a range of progressive and measurable solutions to achieve fossil-independence by 2030.
● Best islands - Palau, Pacific Ocean. Progressive policies and protective measures have put the pristine archipelago at the vanguard of environmental sustainability.
● Best Accommodation - Grootberg Lodge in Etendeka Plateau, Namibia. A luxurious low-impact lodge helping to preserve lion and black rhino populations through community empowerment.
● Best Cycling - Virginia Mountain Bike Trail. A nearly 500-mile trail across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Trail gives bike-packers a low-impact way of interacting with the environment.
● Best Food Destination – Greece. Organic produce markets and island seafood makes it an unintentional leader of the world’s most sustainable food.
● Best Train Journey - Rocky Mountaineer. This slow-travel option has reduced its Co2 emissions by 18 tonnes per year, increased onboard recycling and introduced initiatives to protect of local wildlife.
● Best Emerging Destination - Antigua & Barbuda. On the front line of climate change impact, the islands have made sustainability a priority, banning single-use plastics and styrofoam and established a ‘Green Corridor’ of environmentally friendly businesses.
● Best Conservation Programme – Rwanda. The International Gorilla Conservation Programme has brought back the wild mountain Gorilla population back from the brink of extinction.
● Best Walks - Le Vie di Dante, Italy (Roads of Dante). An epic 245-mile network of trails completable only by foot or bike.
● Best Storyteller - Soraya Abdel-Hadi. The Soraya.earth blog and social media channels combine a love of travel with a desire to protect the Earth.
Best In Community
● Best Tour - Invisible Cities A UK city walking tour company and social enterprise providing people affected by homelessness the opportunity to become tour guides in their own city, while also generating funds for homeless projects.
● Best Restoration – Australia. Following the worst bushfire seasons in history, the rainforests, sapphire coasts and endemic wildlife are slowly rising from the ashes thanks to a number of community restoration efforts.
● Best Tourism Project - The Burren Eco Tourism Network, Co Clare. Bringing over 60 local enterprises together to become a global leader for sustainable tourism.
● Best Accommodation – Kazakhstan. Rural villagers are trained in hospitality to provide homestays while acquiring fresh economic opportunities for the local community.
● Best Immersion - Faroe Islands. The close-knit community provides personable, home-hospitality tourism and invites voluntourists to help preserve the natural landscape.
● Best Revitalisation - Medellín, Colombia. Transforming from the world’s most dangerous city to its most innovative through community-driven revitalization.
● Best Trekking - Tesfa Tours, Ethiopia. Locals lead perspective-altering treks through the extraordinary landscapes and homestays.
● Best Storyteller – Hesham Moadamani. Berlin based tour guide for Refugee Voices Tours uses his personal experience of fleeing the Syrian civil war, drawing parallels between the current Syrian conflict and the history of migration in Germany.
● Best Small Business - Footprint Café, Siem Reap Cambodia. A social enterprise blending wholesome Khmer cuisine and a unique approach to coworking and community empowerment.
● Best Expat Storyteller - Georgette Jupe, Girl in Florence. Through the lens of local artists and artisans her blog offers travellers a deeper connection to Italy’s most culturally significant city.
Best In Diversity
● Best Under-Explored History - Gullah Islands, USA. The isolation of the islands allowed the Gullah and Geechee people to foster the most comprehensive African cultural heritage in the USA.
● Best Cultural Diversity - San Diego, California. A diverse artist haven, cultural hot spot beach city shaped by the Indigenous, Spanish, Mexican and American communities.
● Best Welcoming Destination - Amman, Jordan. Its origins stemming from Levantine and Bedouin traditions, the famed Jordanian hospitality is what gives the capital city its soul.
● Best Emerging Voice - Gabby Beckford. Founder of the Young Travellers Network and cofounder of the Black Travel Alliance seeking to empower travellers and increase Black representation in the travel industry.
● Best Accessible Destination - Costa Rica. Strict accessibility laws ensure Costa Rica is a wheelchair user’s paradise.
● Best Multi-generational destination El Hierro, Canary Islands. This far-flung, go-slow jewel of Spain is an environmentally minded escape that enamours travellers of all ages.
● Best Indigenous food – Hiakai restaurant, Wellington, New Zealand. Māori-Samoan chef Monique Fiso brings native ingredients and Indigenous cooking techniques to the fine dining stage.
● Best Inclusive Storyteller - Jeff Jenkins The Chubby Diaries blog provides practical information for plus-sized travellers.
● Best Inclusive Tours - Wheel the World, California. A travel company that empowers people with disabilities to enjoy travel experiences in over 30 destinations, in 15 countries.
● Best LGBTIQ+ Storytellers – Amsterdam-based bloggers A Couple of Men share insight on LGBTIQ-friendly travel destinations with the aim to inspire and motivate travellers.