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Published on Tuesday, October 4, 2016

County Down - global top100 sustainable destination

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick accepts the Top 100 Sustainable Destination 2016 Award on behalf of County Down, alongside Robert Burgess, Chairman of Enterprise Regeneration and Tourism Committee and Mark Mohan, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Senior Tourism Initiatives Manager.

Joins a global list of destinations recognising authenticity, biodiversity, nature, culture, community and the environment

On World Tourism Day on 27 September, the world's largest sustainable certification programme of its kind, Green Tourism, announced that County Down in Northern Ireland has been listed in the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations for 2016.

County Down joins a host of green-minded areas around the globe in a list that recognises commitment to value authenticity, biodiversity, nature, culture, community and the environment for future generations of citizens and travellers..

County Down is a popular visitor destination, which is home to a number of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty including the world famous Mourne Mountains, Ring of Gullion and Strangford Lough. Along with these natural assets the local communities, their heritage, the abundance of natural food produce and regional products provide a truly 'Green Destination' experience for visitors.

The spectacular scenery of the Mourne Mountains and Ring of Gullion reflects their status as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With varied, stunning panoramas in a compact space, it's a perfect destination for visitors looking for thrills or relaxation.

Strangford Lough was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1972. Covering an area of 28,010 hectares, it is an almost landlocked inlet of the of sea set within a diverse lowland. Within the lough, tips of drowned drumlin hills create a spectacular myriad of islands, while on shore, the hills form a pleasant rolling landscape.

The lough is of international importance for wintering wildfowl and the shores, woodlands, meadows, streams and marshes are home to some of Northern Ireland's most visited attractions.

There are currently 108 businesses in the area that hold a Green Tourism accreditation and in just one year these businesses experienced a huge collective saving of £162,933 due to the sustainable practices introduced by Green Tourism.

Working closely with Green Tourism, hotels, visitor attractions and event venues in County Down pride themselves on their continued commitment to sustainable tourism and travel.

Andrea Nicholas, Green Tourism Managing Director said: "The impact of practicing sustainable initiatives has been proven to generate greater economic benefits for the business, local communities and provides a more enjoyable experience for tourists by creating meaningful connections with local people.

"County Down is an excellent example of how commitment to sustainable tourism can have huge positive impacts and we are delighted that the area has been recognised in this way."

Speaking at World Tourism Day in Slovenia, Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Gillian Fitzpatrick, said: "I am delighted to be accepting this award on behalf of the Tourism Destinations of Mourne Mountains, Ring of Gullion and Strangford Lough.

"We have a beautiful and special landscape in our District and it is very fitting that it is now recognised as one of the top 100 Sustainable Destinations in Europe. Congratulations to all involved".

The local produce and products are promoted through two main websites:

And there is an app: 'Green Tourism Ireland'

Valere Tjolle

@ValereTjolle [email protected]

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