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5 Top Takeaways from Fáilte Ireland's Driving Action on Climate Change Conference

sustainable tourism
5 Top Takeaways from Fáilte Ireland Driving Action on Climate Change Conference


Over 200 delegates attended Fáilte Ireland’s first-ever climate-themed Conference, ‘Driving Climate Action in Tourism Businesses’, in Dublin this week.


What was the conference about?

The conference included expert presentations and panel discussions from international and domestic speakers. The conference shone a light on good practice industry examples from businesses in Ireland and England that are already driving action on climate change, highlighting the practical steps they have taken to reduce their carbon emissions.

The conference included details of Failte Ireland's vision for Climate Action for Tourism as well as Tourism Ireland’s plans for marketing Ireland’s sustainability story overseas. In addition, we heard detailed presentations from Fáilte Ireland on the suite of Climate Action Capability Supports now being made available.


Why did this conference take place?

Ireland has committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Fáilte Ireland has named ‘Driving Climate Action’ as a key strategic priority, and has outlined its commitment to helping tourism and hospitality businesses contribute to these targets.

Fáilte Ireland has developed a suite of Climate Action capability supports and these were launched at the conference. These are designed to guide and advise the industry as businesses navigate the journey of carbon and cost reduction.



5 Takeaways for tourism and hospitality businesses in Ireland


1. You can now access a Climate Action Roadmap and a suite of Climate Action Guides tailored to the tourism sector


We heard that the roadmap and guides are designed to enable businesses to make practical operational changes to reduce their carbon footprint. Areas such as energy efficiency, better water and food management systems, biodiversity opportunities and delivering sustainable meetings, events and festivals are covered in the guides, as well as carbon offsetting and telling your climate action story.



Find the Climate Action Roadmap and supporting guides here.


2. You can learn from practical case studies from other businesses in the sector


Alongside the guides, Fáilte Ireland also published a series of case studies from businesses in Ireland and overseas, who have taken a lead in driving climate action.  These include Hotel Doolin, Blackstairs Eco Trails, Falls Hotel & Spa, Killarney Park Hotel, The Shed Distillery, Clifden Eco Beach, Airfield Estate and Croke Park from Ireland as well as Whatley Manor in England and the Capella Hotel Group, headquartered in Singapore.  

Check them out here.



3. You can calculate your Carbon Footprint using the Toolkit4Business


Speakers were excited that, for the first time ever, there is now a carbon calculator available to the industry, that would allow the tourism sector establish its baseline for carbon. Caeman Wall, Head of Research at Fáilte Ireland, presented the detail of the Irish Government’s Climate Toolkit 4 Business. Once a business can gather data regarding usage of energy and water, transport used in and for the business and the management of materials (i.e. waste), the calculator will deliver a baseline carbon footprint estimate for that business as well as a tailored action plan to help reduce it.

Find the carbon calculator here.


4. You may be able to avail of supports and marketing opportunities specifically for businesses on a sustainability journey


Minister Catherine Martin referenced existing Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) supports for businesses and also shared that she is aiming to expand the level of supports that will be available. Jenny DeSaulles, Director of Sector Development at Fáilte Ireland, advised that an energy consultancy panel is in place that can help businesses on their journey. It was also announced that Fáilte Ireland would dedicate a marketing budget of €500,000 for the latter half of 2023 to showcase operators and experiences leading on sustainability. Mark Henry, Director of Marketing & Sustainability at Tourism Ireland, presented the ‘Ireland Green by Nature’ central message of future international marketing campaigns, sharing that they too would be showcasing the leaders and exemplars who could bring this message to life in international markets.


5. Climate Action may be a new norm in Irish tourism


In her opening address, Minister Catherine Martin stated “Over time sustainability will become the norm - those not engaging will be the outliers”. This is perhaps the key takeaway from the event. It felt clear that climate action, measurement of carbon impact and transparency on taking action to reduce it is the path that lies ahead for Irish tourism. Minister Martin highlighted that the Climate Action Plan will be published next month, which will include sectoral targets (for example, commercial buildings must reduce emissions by 30% , transport by 50%). A key issue in the new national tourism policy (the process of development is now underway) will be how exactly Irish tourism business will contribute to national policy targets.  Fáilte Ireland advised that there are 4 new regional tourism strategies, one for each of the national tourism brands, due for publication in the not too distant future. We were advised that these each have a 10 year vision and plan that will provide the blueprint for sustainable tourism development.


Tina O'Dwyer

Tina is a Certified High Performance Coach specialising in tourism. She has extensive experience in sustainable tourism, regenerative tourism, food tourism, networks, clusters and collaborations. To avail of any of our coaching services you can contact us at [email protected] or you can book a 15-Minute Focus Call with Tina here

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