Sustainability Standard for Tourism

Tourism Ireland is to join with Failte Ireland and NI Tourism in launching a new standard for tourism stakeholders who offer a sustainable product or service.

The All-Island Tourism Assurance Scheme will be launched this Spring and is designed to support businesses committed to sustainability.

Alice Mansergh, chief executive designate of Tourism Ireland, revealed the scheme to Hospitality eNews ahead of a presentation of Tourism Ireland’s 2024 strategy to 550 industry representatives.

She said that many businesses, such as the Falls Hotel, Ennistymon, Shannon River Cruisers and Aer Lingus are already achieving a high level of sustainability. She added that while sustainability is an important issue for tourism, going forward, it has yet to become a primary determinant for travellers.

“We want to be ahead of the curve,” she said.

Tourism Ireland announced details of its marketing strategy and plan to promote the island of Ireland overseas in 2024, at the event which was attended by Tourism Minister Catherine Martin.

The organisation aims to increase the overall economic value of overseas tourism to the island of Ireland, growing revenue by an average +5.6% per year over the next six years to 2030. It will also sustainably support the economies of communities across the island, growing revenue to regions outside of the peak season by an average +6.5% per year to 2030.

This year, Tourism Ireland will roll out an extensive and targeted programme of activity with a marketing budget of €70 million.

It believes that 2024 offers significant opportunity for overseas tourism.

“Ireland has an award-winning tourism product, a committed industry and there are excellent relationships in place with the international travel trade. There are opportunities to grow revenue, especially outside of the peak season when there is capacity ready to be filled. And there are lots of exciting and inspiring stories to tell potential overseas visitors – particularly about off-season events such as Halloween, which originated on the island of Ireland around 2,000 years ago,” Alice Mansergh said.

Tourism Ireland will play a vital role in 2024 to meet these opportunities. Using data-driven marketing, the organisation will remain nimble, serving the right message to the right audience at the right time – thus stimulating demand from high value overseas tourists and matching demand to supply. Tourism Ireland will focus on tourists with “value adding tourism traits” i.e., those people who have funds to travel, who prize memorable experiences and tend to travel around regions and across seasons. 

Minister Catherine Martin said that her Department is progressing the development of a new national tourism policy framework that will mainstream sustainability across the entire tourism sector.

“The framework will shape how our tourism industry develops into the future. In this regard, while I want to see the sector grow, I want it to do so in a manner that is consistent with our broader sustainability targets and ensures that Ireland will be a brand leader in sustainable tourism.”

Alice Mansergh added:

“Whilst there is positive trading post-Covid, we know the recovery in our industry is not evenly spread, and tourism continues to face headwinds. Tourism Ireland will remain flexible and agile to face the changing environment of the future. We will work to mitigate any challenges as we shape demand to fill available capacity right across the island and throughout the year. Through enhanced consumer targeting and messaging, we will win the hearts and minds of potential overseas visitors and grow the value of overseas tourism.”