Welcome to Arch House Eco-Tourism and EU Flower Page
We at Arch House like to be kinder to the environment with greener standards and services.
The Greenbox Ecotourism Label
What is the Greenbox?
The Greenbox is a completely unique region and is a natural location for Ireland’s first ecotourism destination. It boasts unique ecosystems, an unspoiled landscape, centres of learning such as The Organic Centre, a Geo Park (Marble Arch Caves, Co Fermanagh) and off shore islands of high conservation value such as Inishmurray Island in Donegal Bay.
The geographic area is surrounded by water on all sides by the Shannon Erne Waterway, Lough Erne and The Atlantic Ocean. The region, which was once overshadowed by conflict, is now one of the most peaceful places in Ireland and nine years on from a peace agreement (The Belfast Agreement) the destination is in an ideal position to welcome tourists to visit.
The unspoilt nature of the Greenbox has contributed to attracting a high concentration of “green” and ecotourism operators to the region. The Greenbox is working to develop these resources further and to create a world class ecotourism destination with a strong focus on raising ecotourism standards. This is being achieved through a model of tourism partnership and brings together representatives from many national, regional and local agencies. In addition many sound environmental enterprises; ecotourism products and community initiatives fall under the Greenbox umbrella.
What is Eco-tourism?
There is a lot of misunderstanding of what exactly eco-tourism is. It is often, wrongly, perceived as the ‘greening of a tourist business’, and / or tourism that is related to nature. Eco-tourism is much more than that. The core of ecotourism is environmental sustainability and ensuring that the environmental impacts of any tourism products are minimised. In addition, it encourages proactive nature conservation and the promotion of local cultural values, while at the same time developing the local economy and working towards the long term viability of the region. Eco-tourism includes the following:
- Conservation of nature;
- Conservation of cultural diversity;
- Sharing socio-economic benefits with local communities;
- Increase in environmental and cultural knowledge;
- Minimisation of tourism environmental impact;
- Local culture, flora and fauna are often the main attractions.
Effectively ecotourism contributes to the long term benefits to both the environment and local communities. Ecotourism appeals to the ecologically and socially conscious.
The Need for Ecotourism Certification?
It is widely recognised that there is a need for a certification programme to identify the genuine ecotourism experience from ‘green washing’ – that is, where ecotourism is used as a marketing tool for operations that are not adhering to the principles of ecotourism. Certification provides an assurance of commitment to best practice in this regard the Greenbox has developed and piloted Ireland’s first ecotourism label (The Greenbox Ecotourism Label)
This label has been designed to guide visitors travel choices and help them to choose promoters of ecotourism products and the experiences they have on offer. It is also designed to act as a framework for operators who wish to adapt existing products to ecotourism or create new ecotourism products.
The label has been designed to be a pass/fail type award and is not a graduated certification intended to communicate levels of achievement to travellers. (E.g. gold, silver, bronze). The level of achievement in terms of the richness of the experience (number of criteria fulfilled) is expected to be passed on to travellers through the promoters marketing and communications material.