Biosecurity Risk and Tourist Communication in Ireland


  • James Hanrahan School of Business and Social Sciences, Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland
  • Domhnall Melly School of Business and Social Sciences, Department of Marketing, Tourism and Sport, Institute of Technology Sligo, Ash Lane, Sligo, Ireland; phone: +353 874137535; e-mail:



Biosecurity, Tourism, Communication, Strategy, Plan, Ireland.


A lack of sufficient biosecurity communication for tourists can lead to higher biosecurity risk which may result in severe environmental, human health and associated economic impacts. The scope of this research is to assess biosecurity plans and communication strategies of Ireland’s major ports, state agencies and governing bodies involved in outdoor recreational activities which have the potential to mitigate biosecurity risk. A mixed method approach was utilised which consisted of content analysis as well as structured qualitative interviews. Analysis has revealed limited communication to tourists arriving in Ireland’s ports and few plans or biosecurity communication strategies in place by national agencies. The need to provide adequate communication of biosecurity measures aimed at mitigating the potential for tourists to vector dangerous microbes and aid biological invasions seems not to have been recognised. In order to reduce Ireland’s biosecurity risk the need for comprehensive biosecurity planning and communication is vital in order to increase tourist awareness of biosecurity measures at pre-border, border, and post-border stages. This paper concludes that low levels of biosecurity communication is worrying and may pose a considerable biosecurity risk to Ireland. It offers an opportunity to be improved before a serious biosecurity breach occurs possibly resulting in a lost tourist season or expensive eradication programmes as has been witnessed in other destinations worldwide. This research has also highlighted the need for theory to adequately reflect the role of communication by emphasising its inclusion in new or updated biosecurity frameworks to be developed into the future.




How to Cite

Hanrahan, J., & Melly, D. (2019). Biosecurity Risk and Tourist Communication in Ireland. European Journal of Tourism Research, 22, 45–61.