All those involved in the tourism industry have the capacity to take action to reduce their carbon footprint. Action can range from simple measures such as turning your heating thermostat down, to larger investments such as the installation of solar panels for electricity. Taking measures to reduce your environmental impact should not be seen as a burden or a threat, but should be viewed as an opportunity to reduce operating costs, to gain positive publicity and to help the environment.
Failte Ireland published a Review of Good Environmental Policy and Practice in the Tourism Sector. From this review a range of training and development measures to improve environmental management know-how within the sector was developed. This was developed through the following Failte Ireland initiatives:
- Tourism Learning Networks - These networks were set up by Failte Ireland to facilitate peer learning, networking, formal learning, mentoring etc, to tourism businesses on a local level. The environmental element of these networks will be strengthened through the preparation of a dedicated environmental module for the sharing of knowledge and experience of green initiatives.
- Advice and Mentoring - A panel of environmental business mentors was set up by Failte Ireland to undertake environmental audits of businesses and make recommendations on the introduction of environmental management systems, with a view towards achieving an environmental standard/accreditation (e.g. EU Flower).
For information on management systems and accreditation available to the tourism industry click on the link below:
As the tourism industry is made up of 18,000 small to medium enterprises, most of the tips applicable are those presented in the ‘Small and Medium Enterprises’ section of this website. In addition, listed below are a few simple actions that can be taken by all organisations to provide a sustainable holiday experience for customers:
- Provide bicycles for rent along with cycling maps for guests.
- Start a pick-up service from key public transport hubs for tourists coming to your business. You can do this in conjunction with other tourism establishments in your area.
- Engage with local environment and development boards to get involved with projects aimed at the protection and enhancement of the local environment (e.g. Tidy Towns & Coastcare groups). For further ideas see the ‘Guidelines for the Protection of Biodiversity’ produced by Notice Nature – Ireland’s Biodiversity awareness campaign in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland.
- Implement measures in your organisation to reduce water and energy wastage and waste generation such as those recommended in the ‘Small and Medium Enterprises' section. Alternatively a more comprehensive approach can be taken through the development of an Environmental Management System.
- Advertise and communicate what you are doing to enhance your company’s reputation and to gain positive PR.
The European Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (IES) has published a guide on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Conducting a LCA will provide insights into the principal environmental issues with a business's product or policy. By following the IES guide, those involved in the tourism industry, for example hotel management, will be able to improve their business's environmental impact. In the current era of environmental awareness and conservation, this will result in a competitive advantage as well as having a positive impact on the environment.
Guide to Running Green Meetings and Events
The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) and Hospitality Solutions Consulting (HSC) have launched A Guide to Running Green Meetings and Events for Fáilte Ireland. This guide is targeted at businesses that are involved in any aspect of conferences and events in Ireland, including organisers, hotels/venues, accommodation, catering companies and activity and transport providers, with the aim of improving businesse's green credentials.
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