Sustainable Travel Ireland offers free membership during Covid

Sustainable Travel Ireland, the country’s leading and longest-running sustainability training company for the tourism industry, has announced that it is waiving membership fees for the hard-hit tourism industry in this time of Covid-19.

Sustainable Travel Ireland has pledged to waive it’s fee to members for a period of 6 months from the time of sign up.

The organisation’s mission is to transform the Irish tourism industry into a regenerative business sector that respects and protects the environment. They also work to support local communities and by helping to make them better places for people to live and work in.

Globally, tourism accounted for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2013*, making the sector a bigger polluter than the construction industry.

However, as tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, the sector is vital to our economy (particularly in rural Ireland).

According to Fáilte Ireland**, tourism contributes €9.4 billion to the Irish economy and employment in the sector is approximately 260,000.

Tourists are also demanding for more environmentally friendly and sustainable products and the tourism industry now has an opportunity also to embrace this trend. A whopping 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. ***

REPRO FREE The Burren Ecotourism Network has been named a ‘Best Community Tourism Project’ by Lonely Planet. 
PIC SHOWS: Noirín Hegarty, Lonely Planet; Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media; and Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, Pic – Coalesce 

Speaking about Sustainable Travel Ireland’s announcement, Director Rob Rankin, stated:

“It seems really fitting that we are announcing the suspension of membership fees, hot on the heels of the Burren EcoTourism Network in County Clare being named Best Tourism Project in the Lonely Planet Best in Tourism list for 2021.

“The world has approximately one decade to restrict global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, or face the risk of floods, droughts and extreme heat worsening significantly. So the tourism industry, like every other, must change its ways, because, plain and simple, it’s the right thing to do. “But there is also a real opportunity here. There is huge demand from consumers for a cleaner, greener tourism product, and one that positively contributes to local communities. Ireland could be a true leader in this field and develop a tourism product that is unrivalled and brings in huge revenue.

“And while Covid-19 has decimated the tourism business, the pandemic has also forced us all to reassess our business models and the impact they are having on the planet. We must rebuild the tourism industry – it’s crucial to Ireland’s economy – but we must do it in a way that is sustainable.

“I am devastated that so many tourism businesses are closed or on pause now, including my own sister company Vagabond Tours, but the downtime is an invaluable opportunity to implement the sustainability changes that are vital to long-term viability and success. And that’s why we want to offer tourism businesses free sustainability training, to get them moving on this vital and rewarding journey to sustainability.”

Benefits of free Sustainable Travel Ireland membership include: 

  • Access to two free introductory online courses.
  • Member discounts on Sustainable Travel Ireland’s group carbon offset scheme (due to bulk purchasing).
  • Listing on the Sustainable Travel Ireland website.
  • Invitations to free webinars and discounted tickets for our paid series of webinars and annual conference.
  • Invitations to free webinars and discounted tickets for our paid series of webinars (20%).
  • Access to purchasing more member-only online training. Each online course costs a modest €35 + vat.
  • Ability to progress to Intermediate Member and gain a label for your website and marketing material to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability.
  • Ability to progress to Certified Member to bronze, silver and gold level as per the relevant criteria. This requires independent audit.
  • Relevant Global Sustainable Tourism Council-recognised criteria to use to work towards certification. Sustainable Travel Ireland is the only Irish company offering these internationally renowned GSTC-recognised criteria. The GSTC is a UN-mandated organisation.

Signing up to free membership is simple. Businesses just need to register here Sustainable Travel Ireland membership

Or for more information on becoming a member, please contact:

Roisin Finlay [email protected] 087-9190687 or Lauren Keogh [email protected] 087-4191732

* Research published in 2018 in Nature Climate Change found that worldwide, tourism accounted for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions from 2009 to 2013. ** Fáilte Ireland’s Key Tourism Facts 2018 *** This Nielsen consumer behaviour study polled 30,000 consumers in 60 countries around the world.

Header image by Stephen Hylands

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