ITOA Responsible Tourism Policy

Mission Statement

Tourism that takes full account of its current and future environmental, social and economic impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and communities in equal measure.

In 2018 the ITOA began the vital steps of formulating a clear responsible tourism policy which will be deliverable by ITOA members in the workplace and marketplace. A permanent committee of members was formed and in conjunction with Ecotourism Ireland, Ireland’s leading responsible tourism training and certification company,  a code of criteria and principles for ITOA member companies to adhere to was drawn up. In addition the ITOA has also committed to provide support and training to members on an ongoing basis to implement positive change and monitor the results.

The Policy is divided in two parts:

1. Association Actions

ITOA – The Associations Commitment: 

  • ITOA Responsible Tourism Steering Group permanently established to continually develop and measure ITOA policy and member company progress.
  • The Association should adhere to the same action points as the member companies where relevant, it’s in day-to-day operations.
  • Training – The ITOA will offer ongoing Training and CPD for its members in Responsible Tourism, including webinars and training courses. For example, Webinars will be developed to support members on establishing effective ‘green teams’ and formulating meaningful environmental policies.
  • Member Company Certification – ITOA will encourage member companies to become certified in Responsible Tourism to a recognised standard (GSTC, B-Corp or similar).
  • Leadership and Advocacy – For ITOA and its member companies to take a leading role in promoting responsible tourism across the Irish tourism sector and stakeholders
  • Measurement – To measure commitment and success from members going forward using an annual survey.
  • Actively engage and share information with its members on Government sustainability principles and policy as well as encouraging members to participate in tourism agency supports and insights.

2. Member Company Actions

ITOA Member Company Commitment:

  • To adopt the Associations adapted UNWTO definition (Mission Statement) of Responsible Tourism in member company individual statements.
  • To appoint a carefully selected Green Team/Person.
  • Each member produces a Responsible Tourism policy that reflects the definition addressing Environmental, Socio /Economic impacts, needs of visitors, the industry and Communities. Company’s EP may cover:
    1. Environmentally sustainable practises
    2. Natural Area Focus
    3. Benefiting local Communities
    4. Responsible Marketing and Communication
    5. Cultural Respect and awareness
  • To Engage with recognised organisations for training and membership, ideally with a view to certification.
  • Supplier and Customer Engagement:
    • Engage in pre-travel communication with all customers on sustainability and on Responsible Tourism impacts on Irish holiday (for example: Bring a water bottle, use public transport, offset your carbon, buy local).
    • Encourage Irish Tourism industry suppliers to adopt responsible tourism and business practises i.e. single use plastic reduction, energy and waste reduction.
  • To participate in a carbon off-set programme either independantely or in partnership with an ITOA association annual project.