Cycle Friendly Clew Bay
With the Climate Crisis intensifying and a definite move towards ditching the car and grabbing a bike since the pandemic hit, a fantastic new initiative has been developed to promote sustainable cycle tourism in the Westport and Clew Bay area. In conjunction with Destination Westport, Westport Chamber of Commerce and Mayo County Council, Cycle Friendly Clew Bay aims to establish Westport and the Clew Bay area as a world-class, affordable cycling destination aimed at both domestic and international tourists. As a town on the Western extremities of the country, Westport enjoys the unique advantage of being located on three of Ireland’s premier cycling routes – the Great Western Greenway, the Wild Atlantic Way and the Eurovelo Ireland route, as well as the exciting new Clew Bay Bike Trail.
The Cycle-Friendly Clew Bay website provides visitors with all the information they need to plan their cycling holidays in Westport and West Mayo, with recommendations from the very best cycling routes to brilliant bike-friendly cafés, B&B’s, hotels and restaurants. Covering everywhere from Achill Island to Lough Finny and Doolough Valley, the site will spread the benefits of cycle tourism to service providers in Westport and surrounding areas, as well as tourists visiting the area.
With tourists now looking for healthier, more sustainable travel and exercise options, the hospitality sector in the Clew Bay region has the unique opportunity to adapt themselves to cater for the huge increase in cycling tourism. It is an industry which is worth €44 Billion to the European economy annually, and the cycling tourist spends 9% more than the average tourist.
In conjunction with Destination Westport, Westport Chamber of Commerce and Mayo County Council who are fully funding the project for the first 2 years, local businesses are being offered the chance to be part of this exciting new initiative.
Registering a business is free and simple and can be done on the Cycle Friendly Clew Bay website at https://www.cyclefriendlyclewbay.ie/
The more local stakeholders that come on board, the greater the benefit for the area including Westport Town.Why is sustainable tourism important?
To answer that, we need to ask what is sustainable tourism? The UN Environment Program, and the World Tourism Organisation, say it is: “Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”
The impacts can be both positive and negative. The negative impacts can include damage to the natural environment, overcrowding, cultural contamination, and economic leakage. But these are balanced by the positive impacts, such as job creation, cultural heritage preservation, wildlife protection, landscape restoration, and an injection of needed finances to a disadvantaged area.
Once we understand what it is, we can see why the concept is important. By its nature tourism values the things we celebrate in our world – the stunning landscapes, the wildlife, history, culture, and the art and music of the local people. Tourism sparks growth in the local economy, providing jobs, opportunities for entrepreneurs, and money for preservation. But if that is not managed well, tourism can destroy what it relies upon