A new ambassadors training module aimed at promoting the culture, heritage and the environment of the Burren is set to be rolled out to tourist guides, coach drivers and staff of tourism related business.
The Ambassadors Training Module for the UNESCO Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark encourages participants to become knowledgeable ambassadors and custodians during their journey to and interactions with visitors to the Burren and County Clare in general.
Jointly funded by Clare County Council, the Cliffs of Moher Experience and Fáilte Ireland under its Burren & Cliffs of Moher Destination and Experience Development Plan (DEDP), the programme features five separate modules focusing on UNESCO Global Geoparks, The Burren, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren Ecotourism Network and Leave No Trace, which promotes responsible outdoor recreation.
Drivers and guides affiliated with the Incoming Tour Operators Association (ITOA) will be the first to be invited and undergo the training programme before, it is anticipated, it will be extended and rolled out to staff of businesses across Clare.
Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, said, “tourism is a vital part of the Clare economy and having the UNESCO Global Geopark designation in the Burren and Cliffs of Moher region is integral to how tourism businesses operate in the area and how they ensure that all that County Clare has to offer will be sustained and available to future generations.”
Gleeson said the educational module equips ambassadors to the region with essential information on the Geopark, principles of leave no trace and how to interact responsibly in and around the Burren and Cliffs of Moher.
Gleeson added, “research has shown that the more knowledgeable guides and visitors are with a destination, the better the overall experience. Generating a sense of guardianship or contribution also has been shown to increase engagement between the visitor and the host destination and to increase a feeling of investment in the future wellbeing and sustainability of the destination. This exchange has become an important feature of tourism and is particularly relevant to the Burren.”
Commenting on the ITOA’s fulsome support of this training programmes, ITOA President Des Annett noted that providing the drivers and guides with correct, simple, and relevant information will enhance the interactions with them and add to the pool of tourism ambassadors that are already employed within Clare’s tourism and hospitality sector.
Annett added, “the initial information received by visitors can often be the lasting information so ensuring those delivering it are well informed and enthused can only have a positive impact on the tourism product. Inbound Tour Operators are uniquely positioned to guide and educate visitors on the culture, heritage and environmental wonders of County Clare, the Burren and Cliffs of Moher. This partnership also helps reinforces the sustainability and responsible tourism message across the entire supply chain. We are delighted to work with the Geopark, Clare County Council, Cliffs of Moher Experience and Fáilte Ireland in increasing the knowledge base of drivers and guides and by doing so, enrich the overall experience for those visiting the Burren.”
Margaret Jenkins, Manager of the Wild Atlantic Way for Fáilte Ireland, said, “through our Destination and Experience Development Plan, Fáilte Ireland is committed to playing a key role in establishing the Burren as a ‘must do’ destination and motivate visitors to stay overnight and spend more, extend the length of the season, and to improve the overall economy of communities through strengthening individual businesses, creating new entrepreneurial opportunities, sustaining and increasing job creation and increasing the attractiveness of the area for other forms of economic growth.”
According to Geraldine Enright, Director of Cliffs of Moher Experience, “the Ambassadors Training Module will focus on the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark; its important designations, the specialness of its geology, botany, archology, natural and cultural history, and how local businesses are getting involved in protecting its future. The training will also provide an overview of the tourism product of County Clare as a whole and with detail of the principles of Leave No Trace and the Burren’s Code of Practice. We look forward to further expanding the programme to Clare businesses in the near future.”