Sustainable Tourism Conference Set To Take Place Online 


This year’s Inspiring Sustainable Tourism Conference will take place online on Wednesday, 20th January 2021, writes Shauna McCrudden

The Burren Ecotourism Network was named Best Community Tourism Project in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021 list. Photograph by Eamon Ward

As Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, tourism is vital to our economy, particularly to the economy of rural Ireland. This last year has shown just how vital the tourism industry is to the country. 

However, according to the Nature Climate Change journal, globally, tourism accounted for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2013, making the sector a bigger polluter than the construction industry.

That is why Sustainable Travel Ireland, the country’s leading and longest-running sustainability training company for the tourism industry, has organised this year’s Inspiring Sustainable Tourism conferences, with the theme of ‘Build Back Better’ to take place online on Wednesday, January 20th. The mission is to transform the Irish tourism industry into a regenerative business sector that respects and protects the environment, but also supports local communities and makes better places for people to live and work in.

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Sustainable Travel Ireland Director Rob Rankin, said, “Covid-19 has decimated the Irish tourism industry and it really is an incredibly hard time for the sector. But there is one silver lining. It has inadvertently presented us with an opportunity to build back better. We must not waste this opportunity. There will never be a better moment to put sustainability at the heart of our tourism industry. 

“And the timing is right in terms of consumer sentiment too. Tourists are also demanding more environmentally friendly and sustainable products. Recent Nielsen research shows that 66% of global consumers and 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for sustainable offerings. In the context of the tourism industry, 46% say they want green accommodation and 67% say they would pay more for it.

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“We hope that our Inspiring Sustainable Tourism conference will kick start this conversation and will help tourism businesses take their first vital steps to a sustainable future.” 

Highlights of the conference include: 

  • Intrepid Travel’s Chief People and Purpose Officer, Natalie Kidd, who will focus on how and why Intrepid Travel puts sustainability at the heart of its strategy. Intrepid Travel is the largest small-group adventure travel company in the world. 
  • Fresh from being awarded the title of Best Community Tourism Project in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021 list, members of the Burren Ecotourism Network will discuss how to make community tourism work. 
  • Dearbhla Stapleton, Programme Manager, Business and Industry, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), will present on grants and financial supports to help businesses reduce energy costs and decarbonise. 
  • Shannon Guihan, Chief TreadRight & Sustainability Officer, will discuss The Travel Corporation’s not-for-profit initiative which has supported 55-plus sustainable tourism projects worldwide and TTC’s ambitious five-year sustainability strategy. 
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For the full line-up and to buy tickets, visit Eventbrite. Tickets are €79. Discounts are available for businesses that sign up for free membership of Sustainable Travel Ireland at




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