In 2022, I worked with my colleague in the Geopark and a member of the Cliffs of Moher Experience team on the development of the Geopark Ambassadors Programme. The programme was jointly funded by Clare County Council, the Cliffs of Moher Experience and Fáilte Ireland under its Burren & Cliffs of Moher Destination and Experience Development Plan (DEDP). The DEDP is committed to motivating visitors to stay longer in the region, extending the season, creating opportunities for businesses to grow and increasing the attractiveness to the area for forms of economic growth.
The Ambassadors programme outlines the significance of the UNESCO Global Geopark designation for the region and the positive impact it has for tourism, economic growth and sustainability. It provides interesting facts on the geology, biodiversity and culture and heritage in the area.. The programme has five modules that have been developed for guides, coach drivers and staff of tourism related business. These are
- What are UNESCO Global Geoparks
- The Cliffs of Moher
- The Burren
- The Burren Ecotourism Network
- Leave No Trace
By participating in the programme, people are taking on a guardianship of the Geopark which they are passing on and creating a closer connection and responsibility between the customer and the Geopark.
The Geopark Ambassadors Programme was developed over several months with frequent progress report meetings held throughout. At this phase we each gathered content for sections of the course, developed scripts and worked on briefs, feedback and recommendations for the developers.
I managed the asset bank for this project and was the liaison for the developer when any images, logos, graphics were required.
management and customer service
The programme was launched in 2022 and has seen great success. I have been managing the system and have been the liaison for any issues that arise with registrations, logins, downloading certificates or anything else.
The platform provides insights and data on the programme which I frequently report back to senior management.
The Geopark Ambassadors Programme has had a lot of media exposure and has been featured on several websites including cliffsofmoher.ie and burrengeopark.ie.
In addition to promoting the Ambassadors Programme on the Geoparks social media channels, I have had several opportunities to to speak about the programme during presentations. Most recently, I spoke about the Ambassadors programme at the Fáilte Ireland networking event for Limerick and Clare tourism businesses.
Leveraging the platform for more training courses
The Geopark has a vast bank of educational content on Vimeo and YouTube on subjects such as Geology, Biodiversity, Archaeology, Universal Design and the Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism. The content is very insightful but difficult to digest from long video formats.
i wanted to make this content more accessible for tourism business and communities around the Geopark. I began to explore the platform that held our Geopark Ambassadors Programme and found that it could be leveraged to facilitate other courses.
I broke down the long format videos into moduled courses with questions and certificates of completion. These courses have since become a part of the Geopark Code of Practice for Sustainable Tourism.