History

Founded in 2009, Sustainable Travel Ireland grew out of a ground-breaking project in the north-west of Ireland called Greenbox. The project was initiated by ecotourism leader Mary Mulvey who is now a key member of Sustainable Travel Ireland.

Greenbox, which ran from 2006-2009, highlighted the best of what the north-west had to offer, while ensuring the region’s heritage and environment were preserved for this and future generations.

Following the success of Greenbox, Ecotourism Ireland was then developed in association with Fáilte Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. An advisory panel was then established comprising members of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD), and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Through this panel, these agencies now act as an independent body, auditing all aspects of the Sustainable Travel Ireland label nationally.

In 2009, that label became the first globally recognised certification for sustainable tourism in Ireland when it was recognised by the United Nations-initiated Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). As a result, Ireland had one of the first 12 labels in the world to be recognised.

Between 2009 and 2018, Ecotourism Ireland trained and certified Irish tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes.

In 2019, Rob Rankin, founder and owner of Vagabond Tours, took over the reins. He rebranded as Sustainable Travel Ireland to clearer reflect the organisation, its mission and its relevance to Ireland’s tourism industry.

Sustainable Travel Ireland’s certification criteria remain aligned with the GSTC. Passion, commitment and dedication to guiding and empowering Irish tourism businesses towards a more responsible and sustainable future remain at the forefront of our Vision.