Ecotourism as a tool for local sustainable development: The case of Burren, Ireland


  • Makhabbat Ramazanova University of the Balearic Islands, Department of Business Economics, Spain
  • Bartolomé Deyá Tortella University of the Balearic Islands, Department of Business Economics, Spain
  • Anuarbek Kakabayev Sh. Ualikhanov Kokshetau State University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Kazakhstan
  • Mihai Bulai Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Department of Geography, Romania


ecotourism, sustainable development, Burren, Ireland


Ireland’s environment is a key resource in the tourism sector. Burren area in Ireland is becoming an increasingly popular destination, with both international and domestic travellers, where ecotourism is the main activity contributing to the development of the area. Considering this, it is becoming essential to better understand how ecotourism affects the lives of local people from economic and social perspectives, as well as the environment. Thus, this study aims to examine ecotourism development in the Burren and its contribution to local sustainable development. It presents the interview results with the key experts in ecotourism and recommendations towards sustainable development of the region. Furthermore, core indicators of sustainable tourism have been used to assess economic, social and environmental sustainability of the area.



ALEXANDER, S., WHITEHOUSE, J. (2004). Challenges for balancing conservation and development through ecotourism: insights and implications from two Belizean case studies, WIT Press,

BRICKER, K., KERSTETTER, D. (2001). Ecotourists and Ecotourism: Benefit Segmentation and Experience Evaluation, West Virginia University, 1-5.

BURREN BEO TRUST (2013). A Quick Guide to the Archaeology, geology, fauna, flowers, habitats of the Burren, Main street, Kinvara, Co,Galway, Ireland.

CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE (2013). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Mar. 2013].

DIAMANTIS, D. (2004). Ecotourism: management and assessment, Thomson, London.

EUROPEAN UNION (2013). European Tourism Indicator System TOOLKIT For Sustainable Destinations, DG Enterprise and Industry, EU.

HILL, J., GALE T. (2009). Ecotourism and Environmental Sustainability: Principles and Practices, Farnham, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, England.

HONEY, M. (1999). Ecotourism and sustainable development: who owns paradise? Island Press, Washington.

KVALE, S. (2007). Doing interviews, SAGE Publications, London.

TOURISM SUSTAINABILITY GROUP, TSG (2007). Action for more Sustainable European tourism, European Commission.

TSAUR, S., LIN, Y., LIN, J. (2006). Evaluating ecotourism sustainability from the integrated perspective of recourse, community and tourism, Tourism Management, 27, 640-653.

YIN, R. (1994). Case study research: Design and Methods, 3rd ed., SAGE Publications International Educational and Professional Publisher, London

ECOTOURISM IRELAND (2013). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Mar. 2013].

FAILTE IRELAND (2013). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Mar. 2013].

THE INTERNATIONAL ECOTOURISM SOCIETY (TIES, 1990). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Mar. 2013].

THE BURRENBEO TRUST (2012). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2012].

THE BURREN CENTRE (2009). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 15 Dec. 2012].

THE BURREN CONNECT PROJECT (2008). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Dec. 2012].

THE BURREN NATIONAL PARK (2013). Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2013].

THE BURREN ECOTOURISM NETWORK (2013). Burren Ecotourism Network-Constitution our vision Network, 1-8.

UNITED NATIONS WORLD TOURISM ORGANISATION, UNWTO (2013). Sustainable tourism, Available from: