Strandhill Community Development Association Wins Top EU Recognition as Health & Well-Being Destination

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Strandhill, Sligo

Strandhill Community Development Association in County Sligo was today honoured as the Irish winner of the 2019 EDEN (European Destination of Excellence) Award. 

The prestigious EDEN award recognises Strandhill Community Development Association as the best emerging destination that promotes sustainable tourism by using Health & Well-Being assets that are characteristic of their region to grow visitor numbers. The EDEN award was officially presented to the winner by Fáilte Ireland, at a ceremony in the Sligo Park Hotel.

Health and well-being Tturism is a growing sector that is responding to visitor needs and interest in physical and mental well-being, yoga and meditation, sport and fitness, and nutrition.  Wellness and spa tourism can have a beneficial impact on the environment as it depends largely on high quality environment including clean water, clean air and an attractive ecosystem. Wellness tourism is growing globally by 6.5% annually (more than twice the growth rate for general tourism).

This EDEN competition, which is staged every two years in each EU country along a specific shared theme, is designed to encourage and promote a more sustainable form of tourism development. The Strandhill Community Development Association was one of four Irish destinations shortlisted under this year’s theme of excellence is Health and Well-Being Destination tourism. The three runner-up destinations were Slow Adventure Leitrim, Adventure Sligo and Trim Tourism Network (Meath).

Fáilte Ireland’s Eva Costello manages the EDEN competition in Ireland.   “The standard of finalists this year was exceptionally high. During the onsite assessments, Strandhill Community Development Association, as well as the other shortlisted destinations, clearly demonstrated how Health and Well-Being has taken a central role in their tourism offering while also sustaining their local environment. I am confident that this Award - Destination of Excellence 2019: Health & Well-Being Destination - will prove to be a magnet in attracting even more visitors to Sligo and to The Wild Atlantic Way.” 

Accepting the award, Aoife Porter, Strandhill Community Development Association said: "We are flying high with winning the EDEN Award for Strandhill. It was a huge team effort. I am so proud that the positive actions of both the businesses and people who help shape Strandhill every day has been rewarded.  Strandhill is a village striving to decrease its impact on climate change by adopting sustainable principles. We want this generation and the next to enjoy Strandhill's world-class surf waves, unique landscape, thriving cultural scene and significant heritage sites.  Our village is for everyone, for locals and tourists alike. It's a village alive with a sense of community and a clear focus on health and well-being. This award is a testament to the fact that a community with one vision can be unstoppable."

Strandhill Community Development Association was chosen as the winning destination following on-site assessments by a panel of expert adjudicators.  They were looking for a destination that provides examples of good practice; experiences to improve the visitors’ health and well-being; a platform for the development and promotion of health tourism; an understanding of the challenges faced in the development of such tourism; and a forum for networks to share knowledge.

Strandhill Community Development Association will now receive marketing assistance in the form of a dedicated photo shoot of the destination and a certificate of achievement. Also, the EU will profile the winning destination from each Member State on www.edenineurope.eu and will offer each winning destination, participation in the EU EDEN network.