General Industry

County Clare Competes To Become Ireland’s First Certified Sustainable Tourism Destination

By Robert McHugh
County Clare Competes To Become Ireland’s First Certified Sustainable Tourism Destination

The Tourism Department of Clare County Council and the Clare Tourism Advisory Forum have announced the establishment of the County Clare GSTC Destination Green Team, to achieve Ireland’s first Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) destination certification.

The GSTC has developed internationally recognised criteria around sustainable management and its socioeconomic, cultural and environmental impacts, including consumption of resources, reducing pollution, and conserving biodiversity and landscapes.

The organisation is recognised as a global leader in managing standards for sustainable travel and tourism.


County Clare will join dozens of destinations throughout the world that have received the designation, such as the Azores (Portugal), Nuuk (Greenland), Järvsö (Sweden), Rottnest Island (Australia), Breckenridge and Vail, Colorado (USA), Tarvisio (Italy) and Ejder 3200 (Türkiye).

Clare’s pursuit of certification aims to provide a structured framework for measuring progress and identifying potential risks and areas that require improvement.


The initiative aims 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 to transitioning to become more sustainable.

The Green Team

The Green Team comprises a cross-section of local-authority employees, tourism agencies and businesses, conservation agencies, community leaders and organisations, the UNWTO INSTO Network, and the sustainable tourism expertise of Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Sligo.

Clare’s bid to become a globally recognised and certified sustainable tourism destination commenced in 2022, when surveys of residents and visitors to the county were carried out to measure and monitor tourism impacts on the local economy, communities, heritage, and the environment.

An additional survey of tourism businesses will be carried out in the near future.

‘International Certification’

“Clare tourism operators and the local authority have a proud and lengthy track record of adopting a sustainable approach to tourism development in the county,” said Cllr Joe Cooney, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.

“Developing a countywide sustainable tourism policy and securing international certification will consolidate this work and ensure sustainability remains at the core of everything the local sector does into the future.”