In a 2009 Fáilte Ireland Visitor Attitudes Survey, 80% of tourists stated that they were attracted by Ireland’s natural, unspoilt environment. However, the most recent edition of the Lonely Planet’s guide to Ireland notes that our image as a green clean country is not necessarily founded in reality, and commented that the country's carbon footprint is ‘more than double the global average’.
There is a strong environmental and business case for implementing measures to safeguard, enhance and protect the environmental assets upon which the tourism industry in Ireland is so dependent. Climate change has the potential to negatively impact already vulnerable ecosystems and to alter the traditional character of Ireland’s habitats and biodiversity. A subtle change could follow from the transformation of the cultural landscape from that with which we, and tourists, are familiar, such that Ireland is no longer quite the same destination as before. However, as much of Ireland’s Unique Selling Point (USP) is based upon strong points of differentiation from other destinations on cultural and landscape grounds in particular, it is likely that once this relative difference remains, it will be possible to mitigate most negative climate change impacts from a destination image perspective.

For the future sustainability of the tourism industry, it is vital that tourism businesses try to adopt measures to mitigate and adapt to the challenges of climate change. With the issue of climate change becoming ever more important it is likely that public pressure and legislative controls will continue to grow. Taking measures to improve environmental performance will help those involved in the tourism industry to attract customers, remain competitive and to maintain compliance with environmental standards.
Further detail on the predicted impacts of climate change on the tourism industry emerged with the publication of the joint Failte Ireland and Heritage Council report The Impact of Climate Change on the Heritage and Tourism of Ireland’s Inland Waterways and Coasts. More recently, the EPA's report Co-ordination, Communication and Adaptation for Climate Change in Ireland: an Integrated Approach highlighted that 
sustainable product offerings are necessary if Irish tourism is to reap maximum benefit from the opportunities presented by positive climate impacts.

Impacts of Tourism on Climate Change

The tourism & hospitality sector is of major importance to the Irish economy, employing almost 260,000 people and accounting for over 4% of our GNP (. The sector contributes to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions from direct use of energy and fuel, the consumption of goods and services, and many interrelated activities. The tourism industry therefore has an important role to play in contributing to Ireland’s collective efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (Government of Ireland, 2018).

previousPrevious - Managment and Accreditation Systems
Next - Transportnext