Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Greenbox Article in the Sunday Tribune - 21.04.07

Green fingers may pick up 'Oscar'
Conor McMorrow

A LITTLE-KNOWN Irish tourism initiative has been shortlisted alongside Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the US state of Vermont in what is considered to be the global tourism 'Oscars'.

Ireland's only developing eco-tourism destination, 'The Greenbox', is nominated in the Best Destination category for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards to be held in Lisbon on 11 May.

The Greenbox comprises an area straddling South Donegal, Leitrim, North Sligo, Fermanagh, West Cavan and North West Monaghan. The project was selected as one of 12 finalists by an international committee of experts from over 130 applications from 40 countries. Built on sound environmental practices highlighting all the region and its people have to offer, a number of guesthouses, pubs and hotels have received funding under the Greenbox initiative.

Other successful projects include the Gyreum eco-lodge, "a discreet hobbitlike edifice overlooking Lough Arrow in Sligo", which offers tourists everything from movie and archaeology weekends to an alternative Christmas destination.

Gyreum owner Colum Stapleton said, "One of the judges of the Tourism for Tomorrow awards has come and visited us here. It's fantastic that the Greenbox has been nominated for such a prestigious award. They have helped to market our project and provided funding for it."

Among the other projects Greenbox has funded are an organic farmers' market in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim and the Ard Nahoo Health Farm in nearby Dromahair.

Ecotourism is travel which is small scale, low impact, culturally sensitive, community orientated, primarily nature based, and educational.

Congratulating the Greenbox, Paul O'Toole, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, "For this project to be recognized in so distinctive a fashion at this relatively early stage of its development pays testament to the dedication and commitment of the team at the Greenbox."

Greenbox CEO Mary Mulvey said it was "testament to hard work over the past five years" and paid tribute to the project's cross-border nature.

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