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Clare’s Journey To Ireland’s First Certified Sustainable Destination

Local tourism and community leaders have joined forces to establish Clare as the first county-wide certified sustainable tourism destination in Ireland. 

Recognised as a global leader in managing standards for sustainable travel and tourism, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination certification would strengthen longstanding efforts to develop County Clare as a destination that supports local communities and businesses, gives visitors great experiences and manages our social, cultural, economic, and environmental future.

Clare’s pursuit of certification seeks to support greater collaboration in tourism planning while ensuring external verification by a third party, enhancing transparency, and reinforcing the validity of Clare’s commitment in transitioning to become more sustainable. 

Successfully securing certification would see Clare join dozens of dedicated destinations throughout the world that have received the designation, such as The Azores (Portugal), Nuuk (Greenland), Järvsö (Sweden), Rottnest Island (Australia), Breckenridge & Vail, Colorado (USA), Tarvisio (Italy) and Ejder 3200 (Turkey).

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 certification. The 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.

A 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, County Clare has implemented a Sustainable Tourism Indicators System (STIs). The indicators have been selected due to their flexibility, usability, applicably and their ability to compare against International and European benchmarks. Sources include:

• The European Tourism Indicator System (ETIS)

• The Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination Criteria (GSTC-D)

• The Indicators of Sustainable Development for Tourism Destinations (World Tourism Organization, 2004)

• The 11 Key Issue Areas, INSTO Network

• Local indicators

Follow Our Journey

Follow Clare’s journey to becoming Ireland’s first certified sustainable destination on Visit Clare’s social media accounts. Visit www.gstcouncil.org for more on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

Note re Photo Above: Pictured (left to right): Sile Cahill, Tourism Department, Clare County Council; Danielle Devanney, Shannon Sports and Conference Bureau; John O’Malley, Senior Executive Officer, West Clare Municipal District; Karen Foley, Environmental Awareness Officer, Clare County Council; Geraldine Enright, Director, Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience; Joan Tarmey, Tourism Officer, Clare County Council; Deirdre O’Shea, Head of Tourism, Clare County Council; Dr James Hanrahan, Atlantic Technological University, Sligo; Carol Gleeson, Manager, Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark; Fiona McKenna, Doctoral Researcher, Atlantic Technological University; Christine O’Brien, Tourism East Clare; Cllr Cillian Murphy, Clare Tourism Advisory Forum; and Sean O’Farrell, Burren Geopark Team.

Missing from the photo is: Anne Griffin, Clare County Council; Morgan Lahiffe, Clare County Council; Irene Hamilton, Scattery Island Tours; Luke Aston, Loop Head Tourism; Linda Coleman, Loop Head Tourism; Colette Costello, Clare County Council; Jarlath O’Dwyer, Burren Ecotourism Network; and Bernard Cahill, Armada Hotel, Spanish Point.