Minister launches new UN Tourism Initiative at Atlantic Technology University

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, launched Ireland’s first INSTO Observatory at ATU yesterday marking a historic moment for the nation’s tourism industry and signalling a commitment to sustainable practices in the sector.

The initiative comes as Ireland sets ambitious targets outlined in Vision 2030, produced by the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC ). The vision anticipates tourism revenues increasing from €10 billion to €15 billion while employing 350,000 people and providing €2.3 billion in exchequer revenue in Ireland. To realise these ambitions, the Atlantic Sustainable Tourism Observatory will work with destinations to measure and monitor sustainable tourism indicators to inform evidence-based planning. This will help destinations transition to support Ireland’s overall 2030 and 2050 sustainability commitments.

The Atlantic Sustainable Tourism Observatory Ireland achieved the distinction of becoming the first member in Northern Europe of the UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO ) in November 2023, marking a significant milestone in Ireland’s dedication to sustainable tourism practices.

Speaking at the launch at ATU Sligo, Minister Catherine Martin TD said the Atlantic Sustainable Tourism Observatory is a welcome addition to Irish tourism and will help to support sustainable and resilient growth of the sector through measurement and monitoring, supporting the evidence-based management of tourism. I compliment the team at the Atlantic Technological University for their efforts to secure this designation from UN Tourism and for being accepted as a member of the UN Tourism International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO ).”

Minister Martin added, “This establishment underscores Ireland’s commitment to sustainable tourism development, aligning closely with global efforts led by INSTO and the United Nations Tourism’s commitments. Through robust measurement and monitoring practices, the observatory will play a pivotal role in monitoring the economic, environmental, and social impact of tourism at the destination level. This can help us foster sustainable and resilient growth in our tourism sector.”

The Observatory will play a pivotal role in fostering collaboration among tourism destinations across the Atlantic coast, Ireland’s islands, and heartlands. This collaborative effort will assist Ireland’s commitment to monitoring the economic, environmental, and social impacts of tourism at the destination level, aligning with the principles advocated by UN Tourism.

Welcoming the Minister’s visit, Dr Orla Flynn, President of ATU said that with its commitment to measuring and monitoring the impacts of tourism on society and the planet, the Atlantic Sustainable Observatory marks a new era of sustainable tourism practices in Ireland.

“Equipped with comprehensive data and a shared vision for change, Ireland’s inaugural INSTO observatory is poised to drive tangible progress toward a more sustainable future for the tourism sector.”

INSTO, a global network of tourism observatories, is committed to promoting robust measurement and monitoring practices to drive sustainable and resilient growth in the tourism sector. Ireland’s inclusion in this network highlights a collective commitment to addressing the urgent need for data to inform sustainable change, highlighting the importance of evidence-based practices in shaping the future of tourism.

The Observatory’s mission extends beyond data collection, aiming to provide destinations with actionable insights to facilitate evidence-based planning and management. By compiling data on issues impacting local economies, communities, and environments, the Observatory seeks to empower destinations in transitioning toward sustainability.

The observatory will measure and monitor over 40 indicators, including: energy, waste and water consumption; the percentage of residents who are satisfied with tourism in the destination; the average carbon footprint of tourists and same-day visitors.

With its commitment to measuring and monitoring the impacts of tourism on society and the planet, the Observatory marks a new era of sustainable tourism practices in Ireland. Equipped with comprehensive data and a shared vision for change, Ireland’s inaugural INSTO observatory is poised to drive tangible progress toward a more sustainable future for the tourism sector.

 

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