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    Search is on for the Best Health and Well-Being Tourism Destination in Ireland

    Search is on for the Best Health and Well-Being Tourism Destination in Ireland

    Fáilte Ireland launches the 9th EDEN Competition with Health & Well-Being Tourism as this year’s theme

    Fáilte Ireland is searching for emerging destinations providing a ‘health and well-being’ tourism experience as part of the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN) Awards. Applications are now open to find a destination in Ireland offering a sustainable and well-developed health & well-being tourist experience characteristic of their region with a potential to grow visitor numbers.

    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 Scattery Island, (Cultural & Heritage), the Burren Food Trail (Tourism & Local Gastronomy), the Great Western Greenway (Tourism & the Regeneration of Physical Sites) and Loop Head (Aquatic Tourism). 

    From today (23rd August) the National Tourism Development Authority, is looking for applications from businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way, Irelands Ancient East, Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and Dublin that offer a variety of health and well-being tourism activities, including yoga and meditation, sport and fitness, and nutritional programmes provided by various services and facilities from spa resorts to activity providers.

    Full competition details are available HERE or email The closing date for entries is 4pm on Friday, 27th September, 2019.

    Speaking about the competition Fiona Monaghan, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Product Development - Activities, said:

    “The EDEN competition not only draws attention to emerging tourist destinations, it also shines a light on businesses using sustainable practices to provide unique tourist experiences that extend the traditional tourist season – this aligns perfectly with what Fáilte Ireland is trying to achieve.

    “Visitors are increasingly looking to connect with destinations and communities which offer authentic experiences through nature and local traditions and communities across Ireland are participating in many ways to harness these assets through tourism to deliver impactful social and economic benefits for their local areas. This year’s theme of health and wellbeing tourism experiences will give those destinations offering an authentic health and well-being offering linked with their local culture and natural assets a chance to gain recognition for their experiences on the European stage and we encourage those eligible to submit an application.”

    The 2019 winning destination will receive a photo shoot of the destination, a certificate of achievement and an awards ceremony. In addition, all applications will receive a written report on their application with expert feedback from the adjudicators. Also, the EU will offer the winner in each Member State international promotion of the destination through the EDEN web-portal (, a short promotional visual presentation, and participation in the EU EDEN network.

    Further information on EDEN competition:

    The aim of the EDEN project is to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations and to promote destinations where economic growth is pursued in such a way as to ensure the social, cultural and environmental sustainability of tourism. 

    Eligible destinations will be those where the visitor density is low; where the tourism product has been developed using local and regional health and well-being tourism while protecting the environment and meeting the needs of visitors and local residents; and where the tourism offer is managed in such a way as to ensure its social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

    Fáilte Ireland is appointing a panel of adjudicators to select the top destinations and the overall winner.  The evaluation process will short-list the top three applications for on-site assessments during the week beginning 27th September 2019.  This assessment will allow each shortlisted applicant an opportunity to provide further evidence of their Tangible Cultural Tourism destination of excellence.

    The overall aim of the European Destinations of Excellence competition is to draw attention to the value, diversity and shared characteristics of European tourist destinations as well as to promote emerging European destinations, to stimulate sustainable practices used in the chosen destinations and to extend seasonablity.

    The process thus aims to help de-congest overvisited tourist destinations.

    The EDEN initiative aims not only to bring greater visibility to lesser known but excellent tourist destinations, but also to help professionals and interested localities to maximise their potential and develop tourism services in line with sustainable development principles.

    Eligibility criteria

    The eligibility criteria will be used as a way of assessing applications and should therefore be consulted when completing the entry form. We are seeking a tourism destination which is based on the principles of Health & Well-Being Tourism.

    Eligible destinations will be those:

    a. That are “small” or “emerging”, “off the beaten track” and “nontraditional” (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.
    b. The specific offer should have been implemented at least since 2017.
    c. That offers authentic tourism experiences.
    d. That are represented by a Management Destination Organisation that has a capacity in sustainable tourism management.
    e. That have local authorities with a capacity in managing their own destination in a way to ensure social, cultural and environmental sustainability.
    f. 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.
    g. Destinations that have a well-developed Health & Well-Being Tourism offering that is characteristic of the reg

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