Lonely Planet's Destination Editor reveals Donegal's unique tourism edge – and it’s more than just the craic!

At the recent Donegal Tourism Seminar hosted by Donegal County Council, in Harvey’s Point, Amy Lynch, Destination Editor for Lonely Planet, shed light on what makes Donegal standout in the global tourism landscape. While the county is traditionally known for its friendly people, scenic beauty and great craic, Lynch highlighted an unlikely asset that sets Donegal apart at a global level – best-in-class sustainability credentials.

Lynch noted the unique ‘wow’ factors that led to Donegal being named one of Lonely Planet's top regions for 2024, emphasising the importance of sustainability in the selection process – something that is increasingly becoming a priority for global visitors.

Donegal's unique appeal in tourism has always been its blend of natural beauty, rich history, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. However, Lynch also mentioned key sustainability initiatives in Donegal that are increasingly drawing global recognition and new visitors to the island, such as slow tourism, quality local food, an array of walking and cycling trails and eco-friendly accommodation.

These factors were key in Donegal's inclusion in the Best in Travel list, further solidifying its global appeal as a must-visit destination. Speaking on the county’s impressive placement, Lynch said: "With its wild landscapes, rich cultural heritage, beautiful coastline and warm hospitality, Donegal is one of Ireland's most attractive tourist destinations. Alongside the county's commitment to sustainable tourism practices, these attributes made it a standout choice for our Best in Travel list for 2024.

Donegal is a great example of how destinations can balance tourism growth with sustainability.  Donegal is the ‘Wild Child’ of Ireland."

 Speaking from the Crafting a Greener Tomorrow for Tourism in Donegal Seminar, Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Martin Harley, said: "Donegal Tourism is committed to leading the way in sustainable tourism practices, ensuring that the county's natural and cultural treasures that are beloved globally can be enjoyed by generations to come. Donegal’s sustainability initiatives serve as a testament to these efforts and a beacon for other destinations to follow. We’re delighted for our work to be recognised at a global level by the renowned Lonely Planet, and this recognition drives us to continue our ambitious efforts to create an unparalleled – and sustainable – tourism model."

At the Donegal Tourism seminar, attendees were encouraged to actively engage, collaborate, and contribute by noting their key takeaways, which highlight key aspects of sustainable tourism discussed and how stakeholders can work together to achieve it.

Other speakers at Wednesday’s Seminar were ex-Ryanair Social Media Manager, Michael Corcoran, Failte Ireland’s Climate Action Officer Alan Owens, ATU Sustainable Tourism PHD rsearcher Anita Conefrey, Donegal Tourism’s Sarah Nolan and a panel of Donegal tourism businesses including Breac House, Lough Mardal Lodge, Iosas Centre and Harvey’s Point Hotel, who all explained their sustainability journeys.

Closing the Seminar, Anne Marie Conlon, Head of Economic Development, Donegal County Council thanked all the speakers for their insights and urged everyone present to embark on this journey towards a future where tourism not only enriches the lives of visitors but also safeguards the integrity of our county for future generations.  

Donegal Tourism’s Seminar 2024 was held as part of National Enterprise Week. 

For more information about Donegal Tourism, its sustainability initiatives and presentations from the seminar visit

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