Westport in County Mayo is chosen to launch an environmental quality mark for tourist destinations.

Designated areas in the west of Ireland have been chosen by the Department of Tourism to be part of an EU (European Union) pilot project to promote tourism through an eco-label scheme, which aims to

Draw the tourists' attention to areas with a top class environment well worth visiting.

The project is co-funded by the European Union and NASC, a partnership involving Údarás na Gaeltachta, UCG and six local authorities.

West Mayo, west Donegal, Connemara and Galway city, and the Brandon region of the Dingle peninsula will now have an environmental quality mark, similar to the Blue Flag scheme for Ireland's beaches.

Following the launch in Westport today, director of the eco-label scheme Sineád Ní Mhainnín told RTÉ News that a label tells visitors that the local community recognises the importance of their environment, which they are working to protect and develop in a sustainable way,

It will say that they're coming to an environmentally aware area.

Minister for Tourism and Trade Enda Kenny is optimistic about the scheme's benefits, which he believes will bring the more discerning visitor to the west,

It's very much in keeping with our objective in having quality in all that we do in the tourism area.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 10 July 1995. The reporter is Eileen Magnier.