Sustainable Tourism Observatory at ATU

Upskilling Irish Tourism for a decarbonised world 

Eventbrite – International and domestic industry experts explore how our rapidly changing sector can positively contribute to the decarbonisation agenda

The Sustainable Tourism Observatory at ATU (STORY@ATU) research group aims to help tackle the social, cultural, economic, and environmental challenges facing the tourism industry across the island of Ireland.  STORY@ATU is a collaboration between the three ATU campuses. It aims to build on new and existing partnerships with key stakeholders in local authorities, state agencies, tourism industry, enterprises and communities across the island and internationally to address local challenges and collaborate with national and international researchers on global solutions.

The impact of tourism on climate change urgently requires the data that will inform sustainable change built on established sustainable tourism indicators. Tourism destinations require the tools and skills to monitor their transition towards sustainable living and facilitate destination comparison, of evidence-based planning and management. STORY@ATU will offer decision-makers at all scales with critical real time data to facilitate evidence informed planning and decision-making.

The vision of STORY@ATU is to inform the development of a suite of actions to promote sustainable tourism. The data collected will underpin sustainable tourism policy, inform the proposed National Tourism Education Gateway and provide a toolkit for local authorities, state agencies, managers, community and enterprises to collect valuable data to better inform planning and management of sustainable tourism destinations.

Meet the Team

Principal Investigator:

                                Dr James Hanrahan                        

Research Interests: Sustainable destination management, Tourism and Biosecurity, Tourism planning and development, Tourism education, Ecotourism certification, Visitor generated content, Sustainable event management, Tourism and technology

Principal Investigator:

                  Dr John Carty         

Research Interests: Sustainable tourism, Regenerative tourism, Work-based learning, Dark sky tourism, Tourism policy and strategy, Hospitality policy and strategy, Event policy and strategy, Experiential tourism, Higher education engagemen

Principal Investigator:

Dr Dr Conor McTiernan

Research Interests: Sustainable tourism policy development, trust, knowledge management, tourism networks, sustainable tourism certification systems, tourism AI and digitalisation

Post-Doctoral Staff Researcher :

                                Dr Deidre Byrne                        

Research Interests: Social research methods, sustainable tourism, the sociology of children, the sociology of home and the sociology of food


Principal Investigator:

                  Dr Domhnall Melly         

Research Interests: Tourism and Biosecurity, Sustainable Tourism, Tourism Planning and Development, Festival and Event Management, Regenerative tourism    

Principal Researcher:

                  Diarmuid Ó Conghaile      

Research Interests: Rural and Island Tourism, Heritage Tourism, Community Centred Tourism Development, Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, Sustainable Tourism Indicators, Sustainable Tourism Planning.

PhD Researcher:

                  Fiona McKenna                  

Research Interests: Sustainable tourism destination management, Sustainable tourism indicators, Sustainable tourism planning, Environmental Sustainability, GIS mapping, Tourism and biodiversity conservation

PhD Researcher:

                  Colm Barcoe                  

Research Interests: Sustainable Tourism, Destination Management using tourism indicators, Sustainable Tourism, Planning, Using SMART technologies to support sustainable Tourism

PhD Researcher:

                  Sahar Atari                 

Research Interests: Sustainable tourism, Community led development, Destination planning, Digital marketing and hospitality

PhD Researcher:

                  Bridget Reape                   

Research Interests: Smart Technology in Tourism, Tourist Behaviours, Sustainable Tourism, The use of Smart Technology to improve Tourism,Destination Management, Tourist Profiling,

PhD Researcher:

                  Anita Conefrey                   

Research Interests: Tourism impacts, Sustainable tourism destination management, Sustainable tourism planning and policy development, Tourist behaviour, Tourism emissions, Tourism decarbonisation strategies

PhD Researcher:

                  Neeta Israni                   

Research Interests: Sustainable Tourism Inclusion, Diversity and Discrimination, Tourism and Technology.


                  Mary O’Keeffe                  

Research Interests: Heritage Tourism & Social Value, Community Tourism Tourism Service Quality, Tourism Destination Management.

Principal Researcher:

                  Dr Elizabeth McKenzie                 

Research Interests: Market-oriented new product development, Food product development, Food related SMEs, Food marketing, Seafood development, Food and beverage tourism.

Post grad Researcher:

                  Catherine White                   

Research Interests: Food and Beverage tourism, Emerging tourism sectors, Sustainable tourism, Tourism’s effect on the community