Keeping Irish Tourism Sustainable

  • DIT launches major research project aimed at reducing negative impacts on tourism destinations
  • €317,000 funding provided by EPA

 Dublin, 10 February 2005:   DIT today launched a major research project into sustainability in Irish tourism, one of the country's most significant industries.   The two-year research programme will seek to develop effective techniques to protect and enhance a destination's tourism 'capital' and thus minimise the danger of damage that tourism itself may cause. 

 Launching the project in DIT Cathal Brugha Street today Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT, said it was an extremely important research project and one to which DIT was very well-suited,  given its range of disciplines. "Colleagues drawn from two faculties, and including environmental planners, geographers, marketers, economists, cultural experts and tourism specialists will work together on something that is extremely important to the Irish economy.  We are all familiar with the potential for tourism to change the very things we like most about the destination we have chosen, and it is often  too late to reverse that damage.  This research aims to provide tourism managers with the tools to alleviate such dangers and make tourism sustainable in the long-term."

L to R: Ms Jean Cahill, Head of Industry and Innovation, Faculty of Tourism and Food; Professor John Ratcliffe, Director and Dean of the Faculty of the Built Environment; Professor Brian Norton, President of DIT; Dr. Sheila Flanagan, Acting Head of the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism; and Dr. Michael Mulvey, Direcctor of the Faculty of Tourism, at the launch in Cathal Brugha Street.

Dr. Sheila Flanagan of DIT's School of Hospitality Managementand Tourism said she and her research colleagues were delighted to have received the funding for the project.  Speaking about what makes people choose a destination in the first place, she said "There are the tangible aspects of 'place' that my geography and environmental colleagues can identify - the beautiful landscape, the historical monuments, the traces of history.  But there are also many intangibles  - the civility with which visitors are received, the small warm gestures of hospitality, the way people speak, the music they share, their songs, their own rhythm of life.  These may be the very things that draw tourists to a destination but they may be endangered by that very tourism.  The capacity of an area to absorb visitors is critical to sustainable tourism management.  It is our objective to develop techniques that will assist tourism managers in determining sustainable capacities in a given area."


Sustainable Tourism Indicators: Towards the Mitigation of negative impacts on Tourism Destinations.   

  • Funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as part of the Environmental RTDI Programme 2000-2006 - €317,000
  • DIT research team led by the School of Hospitality Management and Tourism, in collaboration with the School of Environmental Planning and Management, and the Tourism Research Centre. 
  • The two-year research programme aims to devise and improve methods for the implementation of carrying capacity indicators at a destination level and to facilitate government and tourism business managers in making more informed decisions.  This carrying capacity framework will lead to the evolution of an environmentally integrated tourism destination management model and development of an integrated management-training module. 
  • The study area chosen - Tipperary Lakeside, Lough Derg - is an identifiable tourism area, which capitalises upon its tourism assets by creating its own identity based on its particular tourism product. 
  • The research steering committee includes expert representatives from Dublin Institute of Technology, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Arts/Tourism, The Environmental Institute, University College Dublin, Fáilte Ireland and the European Business School, University of Surrey.  

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