Eco-tourism in Westmeath
A number of tourism businesses recently completed a training programme on ecotourism and environmental management. The training was provided by Westmeath Community Development through the Rural Development (LEADER) Programme and the successful participants achieved the prestigious Green Hospitality Award Eco label.
The Green Hospitality Award verifies that each business is committed to energy conservation, water conservation, waste management, promoting biodiversity, green purchasing and sustainable travel. Each business developed an environmental policy to incorporate all of the above and to communicate this to guests. Bernie Leavy of Westmeath Community Development said ‘We are delighted that fourteen businesses have achieved the Green Hospitality Award, and it shows their commitment to environmental best practice. Ecotourism is one if the fastest growing sectors within tourism and this network of businesses will help visitors identify Westmeath as an ecotourism destination.’
During training each business developed an environmental policy. The environmental policy included developing systems to reduce energy use, conserve water, efficient waste management, purchasing policies, sourcing food and services locally. Each business was audited at the end of the programme to ensure that criteria of the Green Hospitality Award Scheme were implemented.Maurice Bergin director of the Green Hospitality Award Scheme said ‘we are delighted with the standard of applications, and these tourism businesses in Westmeath have really embraced the concept of ecotourism, and the natural beauty of the county make it extremely well positioned to develop this growing sector of tourism’.
Front row L: to R: Evan Gannon Boutique Camping, Warwick O’ Hara, Anne O’Hara Mornington House, Aideen Ginnell, Lough Owel Lodge & Jim Denby Shelmalier House.
Back row L to R: Helen Kelly, Lough Bishop House, Tom McCormack Mullingar, Tom Reid Glasson, Pat Weir Multyfarnham, John Hughes, Eva Boland Feerick’s Hotel, Neil Faulkner Aisling Consulting, Bernie Leavy, Westmeath Community Development, Helen Conneely Ballinahown and Maurice Bergen Green Hospitality Awards.