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    Scattery Island Wins Top EU Recognition as Cultural Destination

    Scattery Island Wins Top EU Recognition as Cultural Destination

    Minister for Tourism Presents EDEN Award at Ceremony in Kilrush

    Scattery Island in County Clare was today honoured as the Irish winner of the 2017 EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award recognising it as the destination in Ireland which has best used its local tangible cultural assets to grow visitor numbers. The EDEN award was officially presented today by the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, at a ceremony in the Vandeleur Walled Garden, Kilrush, Co. Clare.

    This prestigious EDEN competition, which Fáilte Ireland manages in Ireland, is staged every two years in each EU country along a specific shared theme, is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development and Scattery Island was one of three Irish destinations shortlisted under this year’s Tangible Cultural Destination theme. The two runner-up destinations were Ceide Coast, Co Mayo and The Norman Way, Co Wexford.

    Speaking at the ceremony today, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD said –

    “The standard of finalists this year was exceptionally high. During the onsite assessments, Scattery Island, as well as the other shortlisted destinations – Ceide Coast, Mayo and The Norman Way, Wexford, clearly demonstrated that tangible culture has taken a central role in their tourism offering while also sustaining their local environment.

    “I am sure that this new accolade will go a long way to attracting even more visitors to the region, and indeed to The Wild Atlantic Way”.

    The EDEN Competition, which this year focused on Tangible Cultural Tourism, provides a platform for international recognition to destinations which have a unique tourism offering. Tangible cultural assets include such features as traditional historical or archaeological monuments/sites, industrial sites, museums, theatres, galleries, contemporary architectural sites and modern urban districts of towns.

    Winners of the award are recognised as careful developers and proponents of the tourism impact for Scattery Island and the supporting region. The EDEN network will provide them with the opportunity to foster links with other Irish and European destinations of excellence in a collaboration which can lead to significant economic and social benefits.

    Fáilte Ireland manages the EDEN competition in Ireland and Paddy Mathews, Head of Innovation for Fáilte Ireland, today emphasised –

    “This year’s theme focused on small, emerging, non-traditional destinations located off the beaten track that offered an authentic tourism experience. This is something Ireland has in abundance which made for a close and fiercely competitive competition.

    “During the adjudication, Scattery Island demonstrated a strong commitment to balancing the preservation of archaeology, environment and cultural heritage along with pursuing opportunities for exploration and enjoyment by visitors.”

    Scattery Island now holds the European accolade of “Destination of Excellence 2017 –Tangible Cultural Destination” and will receive marketing assistance in the form of a dedicated photo shoot of the destination – as well as a certificate of achievement. Also, the EU will profile the winning destination from each Member State on and will offer each winning destination, participation in the EU EDEN network.

    Accepting the award, Ian Lynch, Scattery Island Heritage and Development Group said:

    “We have always recognised Scattery Island as the jewel in the crown for local tourism and it’s a fantastic product with a wealth of culture and history. This award is recognition of the amazing experience a trip to Scattery Island is but also an acknowledgement of what can be achieved through collaboration of community groups and state bodies such as the OPW and Clare County Council who have supported, protected and developed the Island over the years.

    The award will bring international recognition to Scattery Island enhancing its profile and increasing awareness. This in turn will spring board Scattery Island and the greater area of Kilrush and West Clare as a family friendly tourist destination. Providing us locally with the opportunity to manage the product in a sustainable manner to creating jobs and enhancing and develop the local economy.

    Scattery Island was chosen as the winning destination following on-site assessments by a panel of expert adjudicators who were looking for a destination that could provide examples of good practice, opportunities to improve the visitors’ cultural experience, a platform for the development and promotion of cultural tourism, an understanding of the challenges faced in the development of such tourism and a forum for networks to share knowledge.

    EDEN is an EU project promoting sustainable tourism development across the European Union and is currently held every two years in 29 member states.  Previous Irish winners include the Burren Food Trail (Tourism & Local Gastronomy), the Great Western Greenway (Tourism & the Regeneration of Physical Sites) and Loop Head (Aquatic Tourism).  

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    For further information and for interview requests contact

    Alex Connolly – Head of Communications, Fáilte Ireland
    01 8847 884 / 086 7966320

    Catherine Whelan – Press Officer, Fáilte Ireland
    01 8847 181 / 087 6449572

    Tangible Cultural Tourism

    The current award focused on tangible cultural assets which can include such features as traditional historical or archaeological monuments/sites, industrial sites, museums, theatres, galleries, contemporary architectural sites and modern urban districts of towns.

    Eligible destinations will be those:
    • That are “small” or “emerging”, “off the beaten track” and “non-traditional” (the visitor numbers rating from low to very low in comparison with the national average). The national average is estimated to be 16,000 overnights by overseas visitors per annum.
    • The specific offer should have been implemented at least since2015.
    • That offers authentic tourism experiences.
    • That are represented by a Management Destination Organisation that has a capacity in sustainable tourism management.
    • That have local authorities with a capacity in managing their own destination in a way to ensure social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
    • That shall have agencies, NGO’s or authorities in charge to protect and promote the natural and cultural heritage with a capacity in adopting sustainable tourism practices.
    • Destinations that have a well-developed tangible cultural tourism offering that is characteristic of the region.

    What is EDEN – European Destinations of Excellence

    EDEN is the acronym for European Destinations of Excellence, a project promoting sustainable tourism development models across the European Union. The project is based on national competitions that take place every two years and result in the selection of a tourist “destination of excellence” for each participating country, with twenty-nine countries participating in 2015.

    EDEN is an EU-wide competition with two main aims. Firstly, it highlights the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European lesser known tourist destinations, and secondly, promotes destinations where the economic growth objective is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism.

    It enhances the visibility of emerging European destinations, creates a platform for sharing good practices across Europe and promotes networking between awarded destinations.

    This European quest for excellence in tourism is developed around an annual theme, chosen by the Commission together with the relevant national tourism bodies.

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