Find out about County Clare’s Sustainable Tourism Journey

County Clare Aims To Become Ireland’s First Certified Sustainable Destination

Tourism and community leaders across County Clare have joined forces to make Clare the first county-wide certified sustainable tourism destination in Ireland. This ambitious pursuit towards Global Sustainable Tourism Council certification will help us continue to develop Clare as a destination that supports local communities and businesses, gives visitors great experiences and manages our social, cultural, economic, and environmental future.

What is Sustainable Tourism?

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) defines sustainable tourism as:

“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”.

Ireland’s First Destination Green Team

The Tourism Department of Clare County Council and the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum have established a County Clare Destination Green Team to oversee the process of securing the Destination Certification. The team’s objective is to devise a sustainable tourism policy and to establish a systematic approach using indicators to address the challenges faced by County Clare as a destination.

The Green Team comprises a cross-section of local authority employees, tourism agencies and businesses, conservation agencies, community leaders and organisations, the UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) Network, and the sustainable tourism expertise of Atlantic Technical University (ATU) Sligo.

The County Clare Destination Green Team

UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories

The UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) is a network of tourism observatories monitoring the economic, environmental, and social impact of tourism at the destination level. The initiative is based on UN Tourism’s long-standing commitment to the sustainable and resilient growth of the sector through measurement and monitoring, supporting the evidence-based management of tourism.

Our academic partners, the Atlantic Technology University, have established ‘the Atlantic Sustainable Tourism Observatory’, the first Irish observatory to be accepted into the UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), of which Co. Clare is a part of. Our partners at ATU provide an international perspective and guidance to our Sustainable Tourism Indicator System process.

County Clare, Ireland

Co. Clare’s Sustainable Tourism Indicator System for Sustainable Destination Management

Tourist destinations are increasingly being called upon to tackle social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges. To help them measure their performance in relation to sustainability, which is essential, Co. Clare has implemented a Sustainable Tourism Indicators System.

What is a Sustainable Tourism Indicator System?

A Sustainable Tourism Indicator System is a system of indicators suitable for destinations, to adopt a more intelligent approach to tourism planning. It is:

  • a management tool, supporting destinations that want to take a sustainable approach to destination management
  • a monitoring system, easy to use for collecting data and detailed information and to let destinations monitor their performance from one year to another
  • an information tool, useful for policymakers, tourism enterprises and other stakeholders.

What are Sustainable Tourism Indicators?

Sustainable tourism indicators are tools that show how well a destination is doing in terms of sustainability. They help understand the present state, compare with other places, monitor progress, and judge the impact of policies or efforts. They help measure aspects such as Examples include biodiversity conservation, pollution, waste reduction, wildlife protection, local job employee and resident satisfaction with tourism planning.

Sustainable Tourism Indicators (STIs) simplify, clarify, and aggregate information for policymakers, which enable evidence-informed decisions and more effective actions (UN, 2007).

Co. Clare’s Sustainable Tourism Indicator System is measuring against >40 indicators across the categories of governance, social, economic, cultural, and environmental issues. The indicators have been selected due to their flexibility, usability, applicably and their ability to compare against International and European benchmarks. Sources include:

Our Guidance and Indicator Results are provided within a dashboard format in the Infographics below.