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Tourism Industry Gathers To Drive Collective Climate Action

By Dave Simpson

The tourism industry gathered at Croke Park on Monday 14 November to attend Fáilte Ireland's first national conference on driving climate action in tourism businesses.  The conference provided practical supports for businesses in measuring and reducing their carbon footprint.

Details

More than 200 tourism businesses were expected to attend from across the country and Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin TD officially opened the event.

In 2021, the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act set legally binding emission reduction targets of 51% by 2030 through fixed sectoral emissions ceilings limiting greenhouse gas emissions for each economic sector. The minister outlined how the new national sustainable tourism policy will inform the tourism sector's contribution to meeting national policy commitments on climate change.

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Fáilte Ireland has developed eight expert climate action business guides tailored for the tourism sector 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.

Fáilte Ireland Climate Action Guides:

  1. Energy Management
  2. Waste Management
  3. Water Management
  4. Carbon Offsetting
  5. Biodiversity
  6. Meetings and Events
  7. Festivals
  8. How to Tell Your Climate Action Story

Businesses were also be introduced to the "Climate4Business Toolkit", a carbon calculator that has been developed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment with support from Fáilte Ireland and other agencies. It is a user-friendly measurement tool for tourism businesses so they can calculate their own carbon footprint using an internationally recognised carbon reporting framework. Measuring the carbon footprint in a business is a key step in managing and reducing it.

Panel discussions with industry members focussed on best practice and experiences while international guest speakers Ed Gillespie and Sue Williams shared their insights and expertise.

Statement By Tourism Minister

In her opening address, Minister Martin said, "The climate crisis is a monumental challenge, but it is one that we can overcome together if we are equipped with the necessary skills, knowledge and resolve.  This is what Fáilte Ireland's national conference on climate action for tourism businesses is about - learning from each other and supporting one another with practical tools that will help businesses navigate their climate action journey. A key issue in the new national sustainable tourism policy will be the tourism sector's contribution to meeting national and international policy commitments on climate change, including national emissions reduction requirements. The new policy will also have to consider how public investment can promote and support the development of a sustainable tourism sector."

Marketing Plans And Statement By Fáilte Ireland CEO

As part of Fáilte Ireland's marketing plans for 2023, it will dedicate €500,000 to showcase best-in-class sustainable attractions, activity providers and tourism experiences.

Paul Kelly, CEO Fáilte Ireland, said, "Today is about introducing the tourism industry to practical supports and expert advice to empower and enable them to make operational changes that reduces their carbon footprint. Our climate action guides will provide businesses with proactive steps which they can take towards developing a truly sustainable tourism offering. Businesses will also hear about an analysis we are undertaking of sustainable certification opportunities for businesses. A recommended framework which will allow our marketing and commercial development teams to create new sales and marketing opportunities for sustainable tourism businesses. In the second half of 2023, we will have a dedicated marketing budget of €500,000 to support and promote businesses that are on their climate action journey."

© 2022 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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