Specifically, ecotourism possesses the following characteristics: • Conscientious, low-impact visitor behavior • Sensitivity towards, and appreciation of, local cultures and biodiversity • Support for local conservation efforts • Sustainable benefits to local communities • Local participation in decision-making • Educational components for both the traveler and local communities
Ecotourism Defined Ecotourism can be defined as “travel that is small scale,low impact, culturally sensitive, community & conservation orientated, primarily nature based, educational and capable of broadening peoples minds and enlivening their souls while providing a unique experience, firmly grounded in sustainable principles and practices”
One key issue for regional tourism: product development • Between 2000 and 2004 North West down by 19.4% • Very low spend on product dev under NDP BMW Op. Programme • Tourism Product Development Scheme – 1% of forecast spent (forecast - €155.13m) • Current lack of product dev focus amongst tourism agencies • Revised regional tourism structures to change this
Resources • Kingfisher Cycling Trail -200Miles –Covers same borders As Greenbox • Marble Arch Geopark /Cuilcagh Mountain Park. • Wide range of Natural Resources /Lough Erne /Shannon Waterways, Unspoilt Natural Landscapes . • People – Organic Centre, Western Organic Network , Creative Industries , Renewable sector • Vibrant Arts Sector , Leitrim Sculpture Centre • Complimentary Programmes Leader Enterprise Boards ,Local Authorities. • Due To Troubles a history of partnership with Peace Funding on Regional Basis .
The GreenBox Area Covers County Leitrim ,Fermanagh ,Cavan ,Monaghan ,Sligo ,Donegal
The Greenbox history • 2002 –Feasibility Study • 2004 Funding approved • 2003 –Funding Applications submitted • 2004 Steering Groups- Capital & Research • Marketing & Communication/ Training Certification Scheme . • Board appointed/Chairman • Staff Appointed Sept 2004 • Network Formed- 82 members at present. • Training currently in process
Board Representation • Leitrim Co Co • Fermanagh District Council • Failte Ireland • North West Tourism • Organic Centre • WDC • ICBAN –Irish Central Area Border Network • Private Sector Chair/ 2 representatives.
The broader Greenbox Network • What businesses are currently in the GB network • Currently 80 members • Accommodation • Organic operators • Activity centres • Chefs • Reservation systems • Guides • Health farms • People accessing capital grants • Ecotourism experts • Filmmakers • Artists • Retailers • La Nua-cross border group building 10Eco Houses
Budgets • Intereg 1.1 €867,400 over 3years • Intereg 1.4 €1.4 Million ( Grant Aid €1.1for smes) • Peace Funding €298,000 Over 2 years . • Matching Funds – • International Fund Ireland €138,850 • WDTP€21,000 , • Fermanagh Dist Council€15,000 • Leitrim Co Co €12,000 • Private Sector €30,000
The Greenbox Company • Working with product providers & communities • Dedicated team of six • Delivering a unique certification scheme • Delivering marketable awards • Valuable assistance in international marketing
Eco labels • Eco labels are a method of assessing environmental performance .The EU has developed a label which is for accommodation The Greenbox has chosen this in conjunction with its own standard to apply to more sectors . In most countries now some system is in place .Only Pilot projects to date in The North and South Has taken place . We hope to have the first 30 on island of Ireland June 06 .
How do we put ecotourism into practice locally? Think global, act local
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
Training & Mentoring Delivery to Small Businesses Listen to their needs deliver training at right level/time/venue. 4 mentors employed to deliver the Eu Flower Eco label (Technical Environmental advise) Unbeaucratic /User Friendly/Hands on training. Tourism Marketing for many members first time involved with tour operators/journalist / Packaging Training. Attending Consumer/trade
B&Bs 12 • Hotels 2 • Self catering 3 • Activity/Education Centre 1 • Hostel 1 • Health Farm 1 • Eco Lodge 1 • Special needs 1
The Greenbox Ecotourism label • The Greenbox want to act as the guarantor of ecotourism in the region • We want to provide ecotourism certification in the following product categories: Tourist accommodation & Campsites • Food service establishments • Visitor attractions • Tour operators • Festivals & Events
Capital Development Programme1.1 Intereg • Cross Border expert assessment panel. • Fund a minimum of 42 small eco-projects • Fund two Flagship projects • Focus on the following areas: • Accommodation • Food • Products • Services
Marketing Eco Tourism • Brand Marketing with a quality standard. • Creating new products/added value to current businesses. • Small scale events based biodiversity/food/culture /resources. • Niche Marketing events/Web Based marketing • Few Eco Tour Operators Feature Ireland. • European/USA Branding can be done different Nature based /Wildlife /learning experience type holidays etc • Leave no Trace on Environment /Carbon offset programmes /contributing to conservation Projects /Green tax etc
Marketing angles • A Traditional holiday breaks • B Corporate Environment responsibility market • C Educational tours focusing on sustainability/ecotourism (Largest cluster of sustainable tourist accommodation in Ireland ) • D Niche markets (Caving, biodiversity, spirituality, green building)
Future Eco Tourism Ireland needs to have strong Policy at Failte Ireland ,NITB ,Dept Of Tourism .We need to avoid Green washing products- promoting product with no Certification Standards and not based on Eco Tourism Principles. Sustainable Tourism is not Eco Tourism, there has been much damage to our Environment in last 3 Tourism Development /Tax Shelters eg Seaside Resort /Rural Renewal Schemes.
Come To Greenbox You Are Invited to Greenbox Eco Tourism Conference June 8th Carrick on Shannon Co Leitrim International Speakers /Field Trips