Our Story

Founded in 2009, the Sustainable Tourism Network grew out of a ground-breaking project in the north-west of Ireland called Greenbox. The project was initiated by Mary Mulvey who was the previous owner and driving force behind Ecotourism 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).

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 and became owner of Ecotourism Ireland. In late 2019 after enhancing the organisational offerings Rob rebranded to Sustainable Travel Ireland. In 2024 The Sustainable Tourism Network was launched, to better reflect the organisation, its mission and its relevance to the global tourism industry and it’s goals.

The Sustainable Tourism Network’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.