*Director of Rural Development with Clare County Council, Leonard Cleary, Fiona McKenna of ATU Sligo, Pat Dowling Chief Executive of Clare County Council, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council Cllr Tony O’Brien (FF), Head of Tourism with Clare County Council Deirdre O’Shea, Carol Gleeson Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark and Sean Lally Chair of the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum. Photograph: Eamon Ward

A NEW COUNTYWIDE survey has been launched to inform the local tourism sector as it pursues a strategy developing Clare as a globally recognised and certified sustainable tourism destination.

Third party verified and independently carried out by researchers at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Sligo, the resident survey comes from one of a number of measures that Clare County Council, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, Visit Clare and the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum are currently implementing to measure and monitor tourism impacts on Clare’s economy, communities, heritage and environment.

Visitors to the county were already surveyed this summer and tourism businesses in the county will be surveyed early next year.

Cllr. Tony O’Brien, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, commented, “Resident participation is one of the most important indicators of sustainability and I would hope as many people as possible engage with this survey in an effort to better inform how tourism is being developed and managed in Clare.”

Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, stated, “Sustainable tourism is at the core of the Clare Tourism Strategy 2030 and the Local Authority’s overall approach to tourism development in Clare. A collaborative approach to achieving this goal is key, which is why the input of everyone who lives in the county is being sought.”

“We are delighted to partner with ATU Sligo to develop systems for measuring and monitoring the ongoing development of a genuinely sustainable and regenerative tourism product in Clare,” stated Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism in Clare County Council.

Ms. O’Shea continued, “The survey, which is based on European and Global sustainable tourism indicators, will be used to help plan and manage tourism and support the Clare Tourism Strategy 2030, the UNESCO Global Geopark designation for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher, County Development Plans and to work towards UN and UNWTO’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Sean Lally, Chair of the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum, said, “Obtaining the views of Clare residents is key to informing the tourist sector and how best to achieve its sustainable goals. We are fortunate to have an industry-led approach to developing a sustainable tourism product here, but it is important that the communities in which tourism operators are based also contribute to the process. I would urge people across the county to have their say in what is a completely confidential survey, the results of which will be of benefit to everyone who lives in and visits the county.”

Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Geopark, added ‘it’s important that the sustainability goals in our Clare Tourism Strategy are supported by actions and data that are globally recognised and endorsed and we are very fortunate to have the experience of ATU Sligo to guide us. We are also learning a lot in our sustainable journey in the Geopark and we are keen to transfer this knowledge to the rest of the county.’

Fiona McKenna and Dr. James Hanrahan of ATU Sligo are also appealing to residents in Clare to have their say. According to Dr. Hanrahan, “Resident participation is essential when measuring and monitoring tourism destinations. All input is strictly confidential and will be utilised in the process of evidence-informed sustainable planning for tourism in County Clare.”

The survey can be accessed through scanning the QR code. For those who have difficulty in completing the online survey, please contact Fiona.mckenna@atu.ie where a printed, paper version of the survey can be sent to an address via post, or a call can be organised to complete the survey over the phone.


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