Where to find the best training for tourism business owners in Ireland?

personal effectiveness Feb 16, 2022
Where to find the best training for tourism business owners in Ireland?

The pace of change in our world and our tourism industry is dramatic. The only way to keep pace is to be constantly learning, as individuals and as teams. If you’re a tourism business owner, you know that your business can only grow if you grow. Your team can only grow if you empower them to develop personally and professionally. Continuous and lifelong learning is essential to business success.

The choice of training opportunities can be overwhelming.

2020 and 2021 were a professional development bonanza for tourism business owners in Ireland and around the world! Never before has so much training and support become so accessible and affordable.

While the explosion of training and learning opportunities is welcome, it can also be overwhelming. Time is still money and participating in training, even if free, still costs you. It’s important to be selective when it comes to training and be very intentional about identifying the type of training that best suits your needs.

It's up to you to identify the best training for you and that depends on your business goals

The best training for you is the one that best meets your learning and professional development goals. Spend time getting clear on what that need is before you sign up to any course.  For a 5-Question Framework for working out your training need, check out this article: How do I know which is the right training course for me? (thetourismspace.com) In a nutshell: if you are clear on a goal, you can ask yourself ‘what additional knowledge or skills do I need to achieve this goal?’. Then seek out the course or training support that can deliver exactly that to you. 

Are you sure that training is what you need?

Training is great for building skills and knowledge. However, if your development relates more to building belief or confidence, to developing mindset or vision, then consider other learning opportunities such as mentoring, coaching or being part of a mastermind. If you want to think a bit more about this, check out my article Do you know you have 4 types of learning need? (thetourismspace.com). (If you’re interested in any of those supports, do get in touch with us directly as coaching and mastermind groups for tourism businesses or those working in tourism are our speciality).

This article is introductory and attempts to cut through the huge volume of training opportunities available to tourism business owners in Ireland right now.



Universities, Institutes of Technology, Education and Training Boards and accredited private providers

Accredited courses are ones where you get recognized and transferable academic or vocational credits for successful completion of the course. (Find out more about the European Credit Transfer System here). These range from certificates and special purpose awards to degrees, masters and PhDs. When a course is accredited, you can be assured that the institution has met a high level of standards set by an independent accrediting body. In Ireland, accredited programmes are usually aligned with the National Framework of Qualifications and are recognized by the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). If accreditation is important to you, ask the provider if the course you are interested in offers ECTS credits and if it is aligned to the National Framework of Qualifications. For example, many education providers offer tour guiding modules but only some offer the QQI Level 6 Special Purpose Award in National Tour Guiding, which is the only one that automatically qualifies you for the Fáilte Ireland National Tour Guide Badge

Springboard Courses in Higher Education 

The Springboard + upskilling initiative offers free and subsidised accredited courses at certificate, degree and masters level. These are a fantastic avenue to a higher education qualification at low financial cost. There are more than 10 relating to tourism and hospitality. They all come with ECTS credits and are qualifications from Level 6 to Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications. They are nearly all part-time and offering a blend of online and face-to-face learning. Keep an eye on the website for annual updates.



Fáilte Ireland is the national tourism authority in Ireland and excels at offering industry-specific and market-relevant training supports across every subject matter relevant to running a successful tourism business in Ireland. The online Business Supports Hub was created during Covid-19 and now offers an extensive library of online trainings in a wide variety of topics. What is great about these courses is that they have been developed and delivered by industry experts, usually the very best available trainers and mentors in their subject matter, carefully selected from Ireland and indeed around the world. They are tailored to the challenges and opportunities of the Irish tourism business and they are 100% subsidised. They are available to view at any time and can be accessed to every member of your team.

There is also a Supports Programme Schedule of upcoming webinars that offer online training that takes place in real time. Keep an eye on the webpage for updates.

At a local level, bespoke training supports are offered to businesses and networks involved in bringing local development plans to life in the destination. From time to time, Fáilte Ireland also facilitates managers and leaders of Irish tourism businesses to gain professional and higher level management and leadership qualifications.



Skillnet Ireland oversees approximately 75 Skillnet Networks that curate upskilling programmes and then offer them to their members at subsidised rates. Many of the Networks are based on geography and look after training for certain counties, cities or regions. Others are based on a specific industry or sector of an industry. Some that may be highly relevant to tourism and hospitality are:



Local Enterprise Offices are a fantastic source of training, funding and all-round support for micro businesses in Ireland. There is one in each county and they all offer a core suite of training programmes which you can check out here.  These include the Start your Own Business Programme and the Accelerate Management Development Programme. At a local level, each county LEO offers a rolling programme of short training courses, now nearly all online, that are highly relevant and highly affordable. These cover areas such as digital training, Lean for Micro, Green for Micro and one-to-one mentoring.



The Tourism Departments in some counties offer training supports at various points in the year, particularly where the County or City Council leads a tourism membership group of network. Ensure you are on the mailing list and connected with your local Tourism Officer to make the most of these opportunities.



Over the past 10 years, rural development companies around Ireland have been behind some of the most innovative and creative programmes for emerging tourism businesses and destinations. Many of these have been funded through the LEADER programme and the development companies also access or manage a range of other funding sources. Make sure you are on the mailing list of your local rural development company if you are in a qualifying area.



This topic is worth an article on its own as there is so much great training now emerging from a wide variety of sources. We can expect to see more and more of this coming onstream. It is likely that it will be subsidised in some way in order to allow us reach our climate action and community targets. For now, check out these free courses from government agencies that will certainly be aligned with current and future grants and funding schemes relating to climate action:

Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland Energy Academy

Irish Water Certified Water Stewardship Training Programme

Biodiversity Ireland Training Resources


Tina O'Dwyer


Tina is a facilitator, mentor and coach and has specific areas in which she champions such as, sustainable tourism, regenerative tourism, food tourism, networks, clusters and collaboration. To avail of any of our training or coaching services you can contact us at [email protected] or sign up to our newsletter below for weekly industry insights. For those interested in connecting with other like-minded tourism and hospitality professionals, you may consider joining us in the Huddle where we have group training sessions and guest speakers every month.

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