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Build Back Better- our key takeaways

Build Back Better- Sustainable Travel annual conference- our key takeaways.

Sustainable living and travel has come to the fore in many conversations over the past number of years. Being kinder to our planet, reducing our carbon footprint and becoming more conscious of our choices. Have these conversations changed over the past 10 months of the Covid 19 pandemic? Absolutely not and if anything, customers and guests will have become even more conscious of it when we start to travel again.

Sustainable Travel Ireland (Formerly Eco Tourism Ireland) held their 2nd annual conference virtually this year via Zoom and their line up included Orla Carroll (Director of Product Development) from Fáilte Ireland,

Natalie Kidd from Intrepid Travel,

Dearbhla Stapleton from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland,

Jarlath O’Connor and his colleagues from the Burren Ecotourism network,

Marcus Treacy from the Killarney Park and Ross Hotels and

Shannon Guihan from the Travel Corporation.


An impressive line-up and inspiring day from all the contributors. These are our key take-aways from the day and some food for thought on what the hospitality and tourism industry in Ireland needs to be thinking of for our post Covid recovery.

Change is here

Failte Ireland is currently developing a new strategy to encourage sustainability among its members. This strategy will include driving change through knowledge and metrics, driving change at business level, at transport level (making our hard to reach destinations more accessible) and opening the outdoors (through re-imagining urban areas, working with Coillte and developing the islands greenways).

Well ahead of this new strategy is the Burren Ecotourism Network in Co Clare. The Network was awarded the Best in Travel 2021 community award from Lonely Planet. An accolade that saw them listed beside the likes of the Faroe Islands, Australia and Berlin for offering authentic and unforgettable experiences that give back to the local community. The Network base their success on a code of practice that each member must follow in order to promote their destination sustainably. An inspiring case study that could benefit the entire Island.

People expect change

We can no longer push the thought of running a sustainable business to the back of our minds. A statistic quoted by Dearbhla Stapeton of the SEAI was that 70% of customers expect you to have plans in place. Behaviour and attitudes published in 2019 that 51% of their surveyed respondents chose products based on whether they were sustainable. That was 2 years ago and the percentage is more than likely a lot higher now.

There are supports available

Fáilte Ireland will no doubt be making financial and training supports available to its members in the future but there are other supports out there right now. Intrepid Traveller have a very useful 10 step guide to decarbonise your travel business. The SEAI have an energy academy which is completely free and offers 16 modules with a certificate of completion. They also offer a free energy management course.

Sustainable Travel Ireland are also offering a free 6 month membership to organisations along with their first two courses completely free.

The results

From listening to Marcus Treacy at the Killarney Park Hotel, businesses cannot afford not to change to more sustainable practices. The list of financial benefits as well as environmental benefits were incredible. Their hotels are now single use plastic free and they are already saving on the cost of guest room amenities, energy, waste and water. As well as the financial benefits there is also improvements to be made on brand reputation and loyalty for making your business more sustainable.

Sustainable tourism practices should be a central part of all hospitality and tourism businesses marketing strategies for reopening. For more information on how you can make your business more sustainable contact

For help on developing your marketing strategy just email Helen on

Helen Leddy

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