“Leveraging the Green in Irish Tourism” was the theme of the recent National Hospitality Environmental Conference which was hosted by the Green Hospitality Programme (GHP). The message from the conference was clear: ‘Green Tourism can give Irish hospitality businesses the competitive edge to succeed’.
Keynote speaker, Guy Bigwood, sustainability director of MCI Group, the world’s biggest event management company, said: “At MCI we get multimillion euro tenders from the likes of BT, Microsoft and Sisco for sustainable event management and most major tenders now look for sustainability. At the moment companies are asking for it – within a year or two it will be a demand. Ireland needs to market itself more as a green low-carbon destination, as these giant global companies make sustainable business practices a core part of their procurement practice, and seek it out in dealings with other businesses. Dublin is in the right space now to shout about what it can offer in this regard.”
Maurice Bergin, director, GHP said: “This is a cherry that is screaming to be grabbed, more governments, countries, companies and associations want the box of sustainability ticked when choosing where to host an event. This is already the case in the US, Canada, Germany, Scandinavia and increasingly, France and England. At GHP we strongly believe that Ireland can become the green destination of choice for conferencing and event solutions, tapping into a largely undiscovered green marketing opportunity abroad.”
The conference, which took place in Dublin’s Convention Centre, focused on how the Irish hospitality business can use environmental responsibility within their operations to gain new business as well as reduce and manage costs. The carbon neutral event was attended by business, environmental and hospitality leaders.
The conference also highlighted the Green Hospitality Programme (GHP) which has swiftly become the standard for environmental management within the hospitality sector in Ireland. The Programme now has 20% of Irish hotel stock signed up and achievements include reducing waste going to landfill by 50%, reducing water consumption by 50% and reducing energy consumption by up to 30%, all of which impact positively on the bottom line as well as on the environment.
All of the programme’s members are working towards reducing their energy waste and water costs too secure their share of the Eur1 billion savings that the sector could achieve from 2005 to 2014 through implementing effective environmental management programmes.
Also announced at the event were the winners of the Green Hospitality Programme’s Member Awards 2010. Green Hospitality Member of the Year 2010 went to Dromoland Castle, County Clare which was also awarded Most Innovative Environmental Project. Wexford Town was named Greenest Destination 2010.