How do we put ecotourism into practice locally? Think global, act local
Ecotourism conserves the environment Sustainable Tourism minimises adverse impacts
Green Box Developing an Ecotourism Destination in 3 ways . • 1. Product Development -Grant Incentives –with Environmental Standards/Training as Condition . • 2.Network of Businesses 120 –who benefit from shared training/Networking / advocacy role. • 3. Marketing and Branding a rural product of high International standards .
Training • Design for the end user – owner manager –who will be implementing the project. • Listen to them when designing suitable Times/venues. Use Language that is understood. • Pick Trainers from the real world –who have done things not trained about how to ! • Do not always listen to funders! • Do not wait for Policies to emerge- help shape them. • Certification does not always matter to end user .
Training Delivered 2004-2008 • Certificate in Ecotourism with Sligo IT – 70 Graduates .Certified Fetac . • Eu Flower Training /Sustainability for Business. • Leave no Trace – train the trainer . • Greenbox Ecotourism Label – practical 8 days to fill application .( Fetac Certified ) • Business Training – web/pr /finance / Guiding /sustainable landscaping/Digital photography for web . • Peace and reconcilation .
Certification & Standards • What are the strengths of the Flower • Strong on renewable /energy efficiency 11% Cheaper Commercial Rates for our members • Strong on biodiversity • Flexible for different accommodation types • Strong on record keeping/actual cost savings • Sits reasonably well with other quality ratings • Good focus on involving guests • Involves staff
The Basic Rules of a Certified Ecotourism Product • Has to be delivered in an environmentally friendly way (waste, green purchasing, avoiding environmental impacts • It has to be based in nature and allow visitors to have a personal experience of nature • Has to involve some kind of education/interpretation (of nature) • The product has to include a bit about local heritage and culture • The product has to be marketed responsibly • The promoter has to contribute to conservation • The promoter has to show that they are benefiting the local Greenbox community
Types Ecotourism Experiences • Eco retreat at Yoga Centre • Orchard Acre Farm –willow weaving • Wilderness Therapy • Film making, photography Course on Environment • Walking & Relaxing • Canoe& Bike Trails
A sampling of eco-labels around the world EPEAT B B Where is Irelands eco label.. Nordic Swan
“Green” standards for accommodation providers Method of managing your use of energy, waste, water European Environmental Management System (EMS)- The EU Flower A structured approach to reducing the Carbon Footprint of your business
How Greenbox got 24 EU FlowerEco Labels • Best practice/Case studies/Good advice /supply advice for all supplies • Quality Mentors Managed by very dedicated Staff member of Greenbox • Familiarisation trips/ pre audit inspection . • Sharing what works well and what isn't working! • A dedicated group of accommodation providers • Many of which carried out these practices before training
Training & Mentoring Delivery to Small Businesses Listen to their needs deliver training at right level/time/venue. 4 mentors employed to deliver the Emu Flower Eco label (Technical Environmental advise) Key qualities Skills Mentors – Experience of Audits/ Advice / Business Start ups/ Clear Communication Skills / Motivation experience Unbeaucratic /User Friendly/Hands on training. Tourism Marketing for many members first time involved with tour operators/journalist / Packaging Training. Attending Consumer/trade
Keeping it simple • Complicated schemes can be simple & accessible if worked in the right way • Our aim is to ensure that tangible benefits are actually delivered on the ground • Finding the simplest route to achieving certification for your business is a priority • Development of useful products can really help • e.g. Info books for guests, training manuals for staff, Record keeping systems.
Network based training • Learning together-sticking together • New contacts and friendships • Keeping training informal and fun • Improving image and exposure for your business • Developing capability • Creating a pool of intellectual capital within the group • Mutual support and collaboration • Encouraging best practice • Creating confidence • New business opportunities • Flow of ideas
The future • Progress from all national levels • Failte Ireland – Environmental action plan/Unit .Recognition of standards. • Tourism Ireland • NITB . • www.change.ie Govt Climate Change Campaign across each dept . • Sligo IT – New degree EcoTourism • Certificate in Green Event Management
National funded network with Blue Book members 45 Hotels 8 started EU Flower. Looking Online Training resources Further development Of resources and working with other Tourism groups -Bed Breakfast / Vintners /Self Catering.