Climate action business guides covering areas such as water management and biodiversity are available from Fáilte Ireland

Fáilte Ireland’s first climate action conference, held recently in Croke Park, focused on the practicalities around making a hospitality business more sustainable. Delegates heard from a panel of experts on how best to measure and reduce their carbon footprint, while Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin was on hand to explain how the new national Sustainable Tourism policy is set to inform the tourism sector’s contribution to meeting national policy commitments on climate change.

In a bid to help tourism businesses to make practical operational changes to reduce their carbon footprint, Fáilte Ireland has developed eight Climate Action business guides covering areas such as energy efficiency, better water and food management systems, biodiversity opportunities and delivering sustainable meetings, events and festivals. A carbon emissions calculator is also available to help businesses calculate their own carbon footprint. Fáilte Ireland has stated that as part of its marketing plans for 2023, it will dedicate €500,000 to showcase best-in-class sustainable attractions, activity providers and tourism experiences.

How to Tell Your Climate Action Story

Part of Fáilte Ireland’s series of Climate Action Guides, ‘How to Tell Your Climate Action Story’ provides businesses with practical advice and tips on how to tell their climate action journey in an impactful way. Marketing, both internal and external, plays a big part in effectively communicating the steps you’ve taken to make your business more sustainable. Here are a few takeaways from ‘How to Tell Your Climate Action Story’; for more, go to

10 tips for telling your Destination Story

1 Focus on others

It is important to tell your climate action story, but it is also important to tell the stories of other people, places and activities around you.

2 View sustainability as the connector

Focus on how a sustainability ethos connects people and places in the destination.

3 Embrace social media

Aim to create lots of positive stories around that shared ethos. Create a climate action hashtag for your destination and encourage others to use it.

4 Emphasise the beauty and accessibility of nature

Give people the inside track on how to get up close and personal with nature in your area. Share lots of ideas for getting outside to walk, bike or hike.

5 Shine a light on fellow climate-conscious and community-based businesses

Share the climate action activities and successes of other local businesses in your area. Celebrate their awards and certifications and share what it is you admire about them.

6 Let visitors know how they can travel sustainably when they get to your destination

Share information on car-pooling options, bike hire, walking itineraries, walking guide services and public and community transport timetable.

7 Support and celebrate community-based projects

Shine a light on all that goes on in your area that helps make your destination a better place to be, eg clean-ups, community festivals and events, biodiversity programmes, school projects.

8 Engage the local community in your climate action journey

Let people know how your own endeavours and tourism in general can benefit them and their place. This can result in residents becoming advocates for you and other local businesses.

9 Write about it

Create case studies or blogs based on the best climate action stories from your destination. Focus on the people behind the projects and their climate action journey.

10 Partner with other businesses to tell your shared story

If your destination has a common connector, you can greatly increase your chances of climate-conscious visitors choosing you. Consider coming together as a formal group with a shared charter or code that connects businesses in the area.


My Green Journey

Padraig McGillicuddy, Owner, Ballygarry Estate Hotel & Spa

The first step on our sustainable journey began about six years ago when we changed from oil to gas condensing boilers, a much cleaner and more efficient source of energy. We also offset our gas usage by planting trees; in those intervening years we have planted 29,500 on site here on the Estate. We also removed all plastic bottles from our bedrooms and we guesstimate that because of that, we prevented over half a million bottles from going to landfill. That was a basic but necessary step for us to take and I think the removal of all plastic bottles from hotels needs to become mandatory at this stage.

Our rewilding journey at Ballygarry Estate began during the first lockdown. We needed something to keep us occupied! Eighty acres have been rewilded on lands that we acquired around the hotel. During construction, as little intervention as possible was made to limit disturbance to the native animals on the land. Wild hedgerows have been reinstated, along with the original farm roads a river bank to prevent flooding. Integrated constructed wetlands treats the wet waste from the hotel; wet waste exits the hotel on a gravity flow and through natural processes of bugs and bacteria and evaporation, it filters through four ponds, exiting into a sampling chamber that’s tested in a lab every month. Every time, we pass with flying colours. It was amazing to watch nature return. Wildflower meadows were also planted, which supported our onsite apiary. The honey from our beehives is used to make our honey, whiskey and salt scrub which is a top seller in our spa.

We’re the first hotel in Ireland to provide Tesla superchargers to our guests. Today, we have guests who’ll charge their car for 40 minutes and while they’re waiting, order a coffee and a scone or maybe some lunch. Tesla paid for the superchargers to be installed so we’re getting business as a result of that while contributing to the sustainable journey that we’re on. We’ve also changed our flowers supplier. In Ireland, 90% of all flowers come from overseas, predominantly Holland. We have sourced a local grower who’s only five miles down the road from the hotel and she now grows all the flowers we use in the hotel.

In terms of investment, we’ve spent just under €1 million on sustainability at the Estate.

Next up, we’re planning a 500 panel solar farm which will take us about 40% off the grid. Air to water will also replace our gas boilers in the future. We’ve taken the view that we’ll do our bit to improve our sustainable credentials bit by bit, every year. Sustainability doesn’t need to be expensive; practical initiatives and common sense will take you a long way. There’s plenty of financial support out there for hotels that want to embark on a carbon reduction programme.