An EU-backed eco project in North Clare could attract additional visitors and jobs to the region, according to Shannon Development.
The Burren has been selected by Shannon Development, who will manage the project in Ireland, as an example of international best practice for the ICER project, which is set to continue for three years.
ICER stands for the Innovative Concept of Eco-accommodation approach in rural Regions. It is a project aimed at identifying best practice and policies for developing eco-friendly tourism businesses in rural locations and the Burren is among six regions in Europe to be selected for the scheme.
In addition to the ICER partners from France, Hungary, Spain, Finland, Malta and Slovenia, Shannon Development is working closely on the project with Burren Connect and the Burren Connect Advisory Committee, as well as local tourism-related businesses in the area.
“There is tremendous potential to generate additional visitor numbers, revenue and jobs in rural locations through the development of eco-friendly tourism projects. Shannon Development is now in a unique position to influence future EU policies, support programmes, grant schemes and other developmental tools to encourage eco-friendly tourism investment in rural areas,” said Flan Quilligan, Shannon Development tourism product development manager for the Shannon Region, after the announcement.
Highlighting the benefits of supporting local tourism operators and landowners, Mr Quilligan added, “The ‘walk scheme’ is a prime example of a public-funded scheme, which supported a maintenance programme on privately owned lands and resulted in the successful development of a range of walking trails throughout the Shannon Region.”
Those behind the ICER project say its purpose is to “raise awareness of the need for innovative public policies for rural tourism among the relevant decision makers, with a view to strengthening the attractiveness and competitiveness of these locations”.
As well as the publication of a Public Policy Recommendation Handbook, the idea is that ICER will lead to international networking opportunities, resulting in sustainable eco-friendly tourism investment and long-term economic benefits for the EU regions involved in the project.