Eco Tourism is rising in popularity across Ireland, as public awareness about the importance of making minimal impact and leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible on the planet increases. In a recent article in RTE it is purported that Ireland has the potential to be one of the top eco-tourism destinations in the world: something that would bring a huge amount of revenue into the country. Recent research has found that the Irish tourism industry is currently worth approximately €5 billion euro to the economy every year. Approximately five per cent of this figure (a number that equates to around €250 million euro) is spent on ecotourism experiences in the county each year. It cannot be disputed that eco tourism then is big business, and a huge potential growth area for the Irish travel industry.

Cost Concerns

Those that visit Ireland looking for affordable holiday options may well look at these figures with both fear and skepticism, worrying that eco-tourism is more expensive than their regular holiday options and may, therefore, price them out of the market and leave them unable to make their regular trips to the island. Whilst it is true that some eco-tourism options are more expensive that their resource draining equivalents, there are a huge amount of eco-friendly holiday options that are available in Ireland that are around the same price, or even cheaper, then the non-environmentally sound alternatives. The experts at money report that you can reduce your carbon footprint by choosing to take a ferry rather than fly to your holiday destination, for example. With so many ferry ports, sailing to Ireland is a wonderful eco-friendly transport option, and one that is often cheaper than flying to the same destination. Other fantastic eco-friendly activities that Ireland is just perfect for enjoying include walking and hiking, cycling, and other outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing or abseiling. These all provide wonderful ways of seeing the best and most picturesque sites that Ireland has to offer without spending more than you would like (in fact, many of these activities are free).

Ireland is a verdant country full of unspoilt natural resources, and there is no better way to explore it, whilst simultaneously preserving it so that it can be enjoyed by future generations for many more years to come. Whilst it is true then that you may find staying in a eco-friendly hotel or bed and breakfast is very slightly more expensive on the whole than staying in an equivalent regular hotel, overall there really is no cost differential in the price of an eco-holiday and a regular holiday. This is particularly true if you are visiting Ireland for a camping holiday, with environmentally friendly campsites costing no more than those with a less environmental focus. According to Green Loons, consumers have been conditioned to believe that green goods or eco products equate to more expensive merchandise. But in the specific case of ecotourism, this is simply not the case.

Broaden The Appeal                                                                         

If Ireland’s eco-tourism market is approximately the same price as the non eco-friendly offerings then, it becomes important to look at why people are choosing not to take the eco friendly path. Why doesn’t eco tourism have a broad market appeal, and what steps need to be taken to increase the take up of eco-tourism across the country? According to The Nature Conservancy, as well as helping to preserve the beautiful and most natural aspects of a country, eco-tourism also provides a very important role in educating and informing people about why our country and our existing landscape is one that is worth preserving. This is one method that we could take to increase the awareness of eco-tourism amongst the nation’s visitors: education, education, education. A part of this education process has to involve advertising and promotion of the environmentally sound alternatives to the kinds of holidays we know that people enjoy taking when they visit Ireland. Working to get that message out there should become the next step in the battle to ensure the eco tourism market in Ireland continues its upward trend.
Article Written By Laura Chapman