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Expressions of Interest sought for Biosphere Discovery Tours

Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership is seeking Expressions of Interest from boat operators to facilitate guided Biosphere Discovery Tours of Dublin Bay Biosphere from 2017 to 2019. 

In 2015, Dublin Bay was awarded Biosphere status by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. This accolade provides international recognition of the importance of the natural and cultural heritage of Dublin Bay. UNESCO Biospheres are actively managed to promote a balanced relationship between people and nature. Their function is to promote the conservation of biodiversity and cultural diversity, education, research and sustainable development. Biospheres include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within them. Dublin Bay Biosphere covers the bay in its entirety and extends from the Baldoyle Estuary to the Dalkey Islands.

Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership was established to facilitate the functions of the Biosphere designation. It comprises Dublin City Council, Dublin Port Company, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council, the National Parks & Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and Fáilte Ireland. It works with community groups, NGOs, local businesses, universities and schools.

A key aspect of the work of the Partnership is education of the public about the ecology and heritage of Dublin Bay and to raise awareness of its status as a UNESCO Biosphere. As part of the work programme of the Partnership it has been agreed that marine-based tours of the Biosphere would provide an important avenue for promotion and education.

To assist in these aims, in 2016 there was a pilot ecotourism project, Biosphere Discovery Tours, which took place four days per week between the 24th of June and the 12th of September. Following on from the success of this pilot project it has been decided to seek expressions of interest from suitable marine transport providers to facilitate the Partnership’s guides to provide boat-based guided tours.

Click here  to view the Request for Expressions of Interest document. Expressions of Interest should be submitted to Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership by 5.00 pm on Monday 27th February 2017. Questions from service providers regarding this call for Expressions of Interest should be submitted by email to biosphere@dublincity.ie by 5.00 pm on Friday 10th February 2017. Responses to queries will be posted below.

Responses to queries

1.Is it envisaged that the boat service on each day is required to cover all the area of biosphere in the day?

This would be desirable. As stated in the call for Expressions of Interest, “the selected operator will be the one that provides the best coverage of the Biosphere area and the best exposure of the guides to the public”. Submissions will be assessed on their business plans (50% of marks), including the proposed routes. Click here for a boundary map of Dublin Bay Biosphere.

2.Will it be ok to run tours of different parts of the area at different times (North area, Port Area, South Area etc.) and price each leg separately?

Yes

3.Will only one service provider be chosen or could there be a provider for the different parts of the area?

A single service provider will be selected. As stated in the call for Expressions of Interest, “the selected operator will be the one that provides the best coverage of the Biosphere area and the best exposure of the guides to the public”. Submissions will be assessed on their business plans (50% of marks), including the proposed routes.

4.Will the clients be paying the tour provider directly or is the tour provider under contract with yourselves and you are in effect chartering the vessel?

Passengers would pay fares to the boat operator directly. Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership would not be chartering the vessel and would not charge passengers for Biosphere Discovery Tours.