"Certification is required to ensure that greenwashing does not occur and Tour Operators like ourselves are held accountable to processes and procedures"
Rob Rankin is the Founder and Owner of Vagabond, the first Irish tour operator to be gold certified by EcoTourism Ireland. Originally from Scotland, he has lived in Ireland for many happy years. Mr Rankin is an outdoor enthusiast and also a keen amateur historian with an MA in Modern History, thus running Vagabond is the perfect vocation for him. He is married, "with three small children, four goldfish and a snake", which we are told are kept in different rooms!
ecoclub.com: How did you get the inspiration for this novel tour operation model and why did you choose Ireland?
Rob Rankin: Vagabond Tours were established in February 2002. Myself and my wife Amy had been travelling in Southern Africa. While there, we saw the safari and ‘overland’ tours that were so popular and realised that a more adventurous way of seeing Ireland would be a fantastic experience for visitors. Ireland may not have the lions, elephants and deserts of Africa, but it certainly has plenty of great scenery, fascinating history and a few wild creatures running loose. Just what you need for a good safari. Since 2002 Vagabond has grown steadily year on year, building an excellent reputation within the Irish Tourism industry and with customers abroad. We have won several awards and been featured in numerous articles in publications around the world.