The Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 outlined a vision and action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry to produce and develop more sustainable outcomes. As part of this commitment to sustainability a number of KPIs were included in the strategy to track the performance of Visit Cork in reaching these sustainability goals.

Below is a graphical dashboard which displays Visit Cork’s performance on the KPIs originally set out in the Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 (with green signifying ‘Complete’, amber signifying ‘In Progress’ and red signifying ‘Not Complete’):

And for the full Visit Cork Sustainability Performance Report 2020 – 2021 click HERE or below:

Cork Convention Bureau (CCB), in its role as an International Destination Management Organisation, is hugely aware of the demands for environmental best practice within the MICE industry. To continually improve, we have needed to ensure our member hotels are third-party accredited for sustainability certification. Recently 8 CCB Member Hotels achieved third-party sustainability certification through the Green Hospitality Awards programme and an Eco-label audit which was heavily subsidised by CCB.

Key benefits of the programme:

  • Calculate individual MICE event carbon footprints – enabling reporting and/or offsetting – using the International Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative (HCMI) methodology
  • Create KPI’s for Energy, Water, Waste – allowing for quantifiable target setting
  • Identify cost saving opportunities

We are delighted that 8 of our member hotels have recently achieved the Green Hospitality Award Eco-label through this programme and joined many of our other hotel members in holding third-party accredited sustainability certification.

You can now find all our members who are ‘committed’ to sustainability (have taken part in sustainability training) or ‘engaged’ in sustainability (hold third-party accredited sustainability certification) on our Hotel Members page: https://www.corkconventionbureau.com/ccb-associates/hotels/ 

In March 2020, University College Cork celebrated 10 years since becoming the first University in the world to be awarded a Green Flag from the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green Campus involves a seven-step programme and a cycle of continual improvement. Campuses are fully reassessed, by a panel of external experts, every 3 years. UCC has successfully renewed it’s Green Flag 4 times.

The Green Campus Programme in UCC has evolved significantly since its inception. Strong commitment and support from the highest levels in the university has contributed to embedding sustainability across our operations, teaching, research and outreach. The student-led Green Campus Committee, chaired by the Student’s Union Deputy President, meets regularly to discuss ideas and campaigns to improve our campus. These meetings feed into biannual meetings of the Green Campus Forum, which takes its membership from across all functions within the University. The forum ensures continuity and strategic oversight throughout the academic cycle.

Some of UCC’s Green Wins during this time include:

For more information on UCC’s sustainable initiatives click HERE.

 

In December 2020, the inaugural Visit Cork Green Award was awarded to Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens in Clonakilty for their continual work on sustainable initiatives throughout the year.

This Award was set up to encourage and reward our tourism partners who made a commitment to operating sustainably and in 2020 we were delighted to present it to Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens.

Michael O’Neill and his team at the hotel deserve huge credit for there work on sustainability there including:

  • Using solar panels for hot water and electricity
  • Using their own well for water
  • Growing their own food
  • Planting 3,000 trees, as part of a larger project to plant 20,000 trees all around Clonakilty in 2020

Michael O’Neill manager of Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens receiving his award from Evelyn O’Sullivan and Jeremy Murray of Visit Cork

The submission process for the Visit Cork Green award 2021 is now open to all Cork tourism businesses, who can submit an application for the award by clicking HERE.

While in person events had to be put on pause due to Covid-19 restrictions, we thought it might be a good idea to sit down with some of our conference ambassadors to have a virtual chat about what they’ve learned from organising events and get their thoughts on the future of business tourism.

In a series of interviews we have jokingly decided to call ‘Until We Meet Again’:

EPISODE 1 – DR. HARRY GIJBELS

EPISODE 1 – DR. Niall Smith and ELIZABETH CARROLL-TWOMEY

The 5-Star Castlemartyr Resort are delighted to announce a new partnership with the reforestation non-profit One Tree Planted, with the goal of further increasing the Resort’s commitment to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible way. The partnership will see Castlemartyr Resort aid in thousands of trees planted around the world every year.

Castlemartyr Resort General Manager, Brendan Comerford (right), pictured with Castlemartyr Resort Golf Course Superintendent, Paudie O’Sullivan (left), marking the start of the new partnership

About Castlemartyr Resort:

Situated on 220 acres of woodlands and grounds in East Cork, Castlemartyr Resort consists of a grand 17th-century country manor house that sits adjacent to the ruins of an 800-year-old-castle.

With a storied history that includes Strongbow, Water Raleigh, the Knight’s Templar and more, the Castlemartyr Resort was officially opened for guests in 2008, with over 100 guest rooms and suites, along with 47 luxury self-catering lodges.

About One Tree Planted:

One Tree Planted’s reforestation projects span the globe and are done in partnership with local communities and knowledgeable experts to create an impact for nature, people, and wildlife. Reforestation helps to rebuild forests after fires and floods, provide jobs for social impact, and restore biodiversity. Many projects have overlapping objectives, creating a combination of benefits that contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at onetreeplanted.org. One Tree Planted is a 501(c)(3) non-profit on a mission to make it simple for anyone to help the environment by planting trees.

The Partnership:

As part of the organisations ‘One for One’ initiative, Castlemartyr Resort’s partnership with One Tree Planted will see a number of measures being introduced.

  • A tree will be planted for all delegates and attendees at corporate and business events taking part at Castlemartyr Resort, including remote attendees taking part in the Resort’s new ‘Hybrid Events’ offering https://www.castlemartyrresort.ie/events/meetings/hybrid-conference-event/
  • Guests booking a room directly with the hotel will be offered the chance to plant a tree as part of the booking process
  • Couples looking to celebrate their wedding at the Resort will also have the option to plant a tree for all of their guests, complete with a souvenir certificate to mark their special day

Speaking on the news, Castlemartyr Resort General Manager, Brendan Comerford, said, “We are delighted to announce our partnership with One Tree Planted as the latest step in our ongoing commitment to further improve and focus our environmental efforts. We are very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful woodlands and wildlife and are keenly aware of our responsibilities, with One Tree Planted a perfect fit. 2019 saw the establishment of our in-house ‘Green Team’, with several initiatives undertaken since then, including migrating from traditional to LED lighting throughout the Resort, the introduction of beehives to the grounds, and many more projects on the horizon.”

For more information on the work being undertaken at Castlemartyr Resort visit https://www.castlemartyrresort.ie/hotel/corporate-social-responsibility-sustainability/ or call 021 421 9000.

While tourism needed to be put on pause, Visit Cork wanted to use this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing things to see and do in Cork City and County for when it is once again safe to travel. This was primarily done through the Visit Cork Familiarisation Sessions which featured presentations from some of Cork’s hidden gems, along with industry discussion in a soapbox format.

Below you will find the recordings of all 13 sessions, and if you would like to subscribe to the Visit Cork newsletter for more information on this and other Visit Cork initiatives, please click HERE.

Session 1 – Ballyhass Lakes & Nano Nagle Place

 

Session 2 – West Cork Forest Bathing, Triskel Arts Centre & Youghal Clockgate Tower

 

Session 3 – Beyond the Glass Adventure Tours, Cape Clear ISLAND Ferries / Fastnet Rock Lighthouse Tours & the Glucksman

 

Session 4 – Crawford Art Gallery, Leahy’s Open Farm & Clonakilty Distillery

 

Session 5 – Bantry Bay Boat Hire, The Everyman CORK & the Toy Soldier Factory

 

Session 6 – Old Cork Waterworks, Elizabeth Fort, West Cork Garden Trail & Fota House, Arboretum & Gardens

 

Session 7 – Cork Food Tours, Activity Days, the Old Butter Roads, Kinsale Food Tours and O’Tuama Tours

 

Session 8 – Sovereign Sailing, ST. FIN BARRE’S CATHEDRAL, ZIPIT FOREST ADVENTURES AND MICHAEL COLLINS HOUSE

 

Session 9 – Atlantic Sea Kayaking, MTU Blackrock Castle Observatory, Sam Maguire Trail, bells & passport and Munster Vales

 

Session 10 – Jameson Distillery MIDLETON, VE Studio cORK, Cronin’s Coaches, Cork City Tours and Shandon Bells & tOWER

 

Session 11 – Skibbereen Heritage Centre, Kinsale Heritage Walking Tours and Cork Opera House

 

 

Session 12 – Ballyvolane House, Bertha’s Revenge Distillery, Kinsale Mead Co, Titanic Experience Cobh and Franciscan Well Brewery

 

Session 13 – Cork City Gaol, Spike Island, Blarney Castle & Gardens and Fota Wildlife Park

As an Island nation which is predominately accessible by air, it is of paramount importance to the Irish tourism industry that we work together to produce more sustainable outcomes. Especially as the topic of sustainability is one which is becoming more and more relevant for both the business and leisure tourist.

We at Visit Cork acknowledge our responsibility as Cork’s official tourism body to encourage, develop and establish sustainable practices in our own operations and in Cork tourism as a whole. We aim to have Cork recognised as a leader in social, environmental and economic sustainability for both business and leisure tourism.

Our sustainability journey began in 2018 when we along with the other Convention Bureaux of Ireland, joined the GDS-Index which is the leading sustainability benchmarking and improvement programme for destinations around the world. It is used to assess current social and environmental performance of a destination, and then to drive enhanced performance. While also being a powerful tool for clients to assess the sustainability of destinations to visit or meet in.

As part of improving our standing in the GDS-Index, we have recently created a Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy 2020 – 2023 and a Visit Cork Sustainability Policy. These documents are a vision and action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry to produce and develop more sustainable outcomes. These documents will be regularly updated and we would love to hear feedback on them by emailing info@visitcork.ie

One of out most important steps along our sustainability journey was creating a sustainability policy. This is something we will be encouraging all of our tourism partners to have and to assist with this, please use the below GDS-Index infographic that will help identify what your new or updated sustainability policy should include:

As part of our focus on sustainability we will also be working with meeting and event planners to create more sustainable business tourism in Cork. To do this we will follow the below GDS-Index Regenerative Event Checklist:

Finally here are some other resources which may be helpful to our partners in improving sustainability in tourism and events:

Over the past seven years Keep Cork Meeting has grown into Cork’s largest meetings and events expo with over 200 attendees and 40 exhibitors in 2019. Keep Cork Meeting aims to encourage more conferences, meetings and events in to Cork, and gives hotels and other tourism service providers locally the opportunity to showcase their offering to the corporate market. 

Sadly, in March of 2020 the Cork Convention Bureau took the decision to postpone Keep Cork Meeting 2020 until a later date when the event can be held safely and deliver the same personal interaction of previous additions.

Even though we’ve had to postpone Keep Cork Meeting for now, we are still here to assist in planning meetings, events and conferences for future years and if you would like to get in touch, we would love to hear from you by emailing info@corkconventionbureau.com

In the meantime, please enjoy a quick look back through the fun and festivities at previous Keep Cork Meetings:

 

2019

In 2019, Keep Cork Meeting returned to Páirc Uí Chaoimh for the second year in a row for its 7th annual business tourism showcase. At the event attendees got to experience the very best of Cork’s business tourism offering, including accommodation options, unique Cork venues, food and drink options, activities and interactive experiences, as well as  advice from Event Management experts in attendance.

Aisling Claffy and Niamh McCarthy, Páirc Uí Chaoimh Meeting & Events; Claire Myler, the River Lee Hotel; Evelyn O’Sullivan, Head of Cork Convention Bureau; Kylie Basnett, Trigon Hotels; Margaret O’Regan, Event Plan; Fiona O ’Donoghue, Carrigaline Court; Steve Cox, Rochestown Park Hotel; Donna Mannion, Clayton Cork City Hotel; and Anne Cahill, Cork Convention Bureau pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2019 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

James Foley, Beyond the Glass Adventure Tours, Marie O’Donovan, Chattyboo Productions, Cork City Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mick Finn and Seamus Heaney, Head of Pure Cork pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2019 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Tom Williams, Niamh McCarthy, Iain Flynn, Simon Tiptaft and Aisling Claffy from Páirc Uí Chaoimh Meeting & Events Team pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2019 (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin
MC Jonathan Healy pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2019 in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2018

In 2018, Keep Cork Meeting was first held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. The theme of this event was ‘What’s new in Cork’ highlighting the new venues, conference facilities and meeting spaces that are on offer in Cork as well as encouraging new ideas on how to market Cork as a business tourism destination. The format of the event was slightly changed this year also, moving to a morning event, which was very well received by attendees. For a timelapse of the event click here: KCM2018Timelapse

Danielle Healy, Imperial Hotel, Cork Lord Mayor, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald, Seamus Heaney, Cork Convention Bureau, Roisin Gaffney, Meet in Ireland and Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport at Cork Convention Bureau’s sixth annual Keep Cork Meeting Event, which was held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin
Niamh McCarthy, Pairc Uí Chaoimh, DMCs Katia Kudriashova, Event Partners; Meggan McGoldrick, Aspects of Ireland; Armando Borgatta, A Touch of Ireland; Sara Hosford, Custom Ireland; Fiona O’Brien, Joe O’Reilly Ireland and Evelyn O’Sullivan, Cork Convention Bureau pictured at Cork Convention Bureau’s sixth annual Keep Cork Meeting Event, which was held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Niamh McCarthy, Pairc Uí Caoimh Events, Kevin Cullinane, Cork Airport, Patrick Doyle, Pairc Uí Caoimh Events, Seamus Heaney, Cork Convention Bureau and Cork Lord Mayor, Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald at Cork Convention Bureau’s sixth annual Keep Cork Meeting Event, which was held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2017

In 2017, Keep Cork Meeting was held in Devere Hall, UCC. Attendees got to enjoy a glass of wine and some tasty bites, while learning about the business tourism offering from 40 of Cork’s best hotels, venues and activity providers.

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Tony Fitzgerald and Seamus Heaney, Executive Chairman of Cork Convention Bureau pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2017 in Devere Hall, UCC (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Keep Cork Meeting 2017 in Devere Hall, UCC. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Keep Cork Meeting 2017 in Devere Hall, UCC. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Keep Cork Meeting 2017 in Devere Hall, UCC. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Pictured at Keep Cork Meeting 2017 in Devere Hall, UCC were Seamus Heaney, CCB Executive Chairman and Monica Gilmore, Charleville Park Hotel (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2016

In 2016, Keep Cork Meeting was held in Cork County Hall. This event brought together over 150 meeting and conference organisers from a broad variety of Cork companies including Abtran, EMC, Stryker, Boston Scientific, Eli Lilly and Pepsico. Also, in attendance were Cork Conference Ambassadors, who are integral components of Cork’s success as a business tourism destination. The event presented unique interactive experiences from spa treatments to cocktail making and dance offs!

Brendan Canty, Lee Sessions; Ciara Gallagher, Meet in Ireland; Steve Cox, Cork Convention Bureau; Olivia McCabe, Carrigaline Court Hotel and Liam Hallahan, Cork International Hotel at #KeepCorkMeeting (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

Breda Larkin and Pauline O’Driscoll of TeamBuild.ie at #KeepCorkMeeting (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2016 in Cork County Hall. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2015

In 2015, Keep Cork Meeting was held in Cork City Hall. With each of the forty exhibitors showcasing a unique product offering or activity, it was a great opportunity for businesses and organisations in Cork to sample the best of Cork’s Business tourism product and lesser known activities all under one roof.

Noelle O’Regan, Cork Ghost Tour, Darragh Brady, Chairperson Irish Hotel Federation, Cork Branch, Seamus Heaney, Chairperson Cork Convention Bureau, Damien Punch of Cork Ghost Tour and Victor O’Flynn of the Bennett’s Court Experience, Cuskinny, Cobh at #KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase in Cork City Hall (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Nick Nugent, Deputy Mayor, Greg Cavew, Abbey Conferences, Conor Dwane, Blue Haven, Chris O’Leary Cork City Lord Mayor and Ray Kelleher of the Clarion Hotel at Cork Convention Bureau’s annual business tourism showcase event #KeepCorkMeeting in Cork City Hall (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Anna Marie Fagen of Excellent Choice Catering at Cork Convention Bureau’s annual business tourism showcase event #KeepCorkMeeting in Cork City Hall (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

Sean Devereux of TeamBuild.ie at Cork Convention Bureau’s annual business tourism showcase event #KeepCorkMeeting in Cork City Hall (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2014

In 2014, the second Keep Cork Meeting was held in the unique venue of Cork City Gaol. CCB played host to over 120 guests from a wide selection of Cork companies such as EMC, Stryker, Merck Sharp & Dohme and Pepsico, while University College Cork and a range of other organisations were also represented.

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2014 in Cork City Gaol. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2014 in Cork City Gaol. Photo Joleen Cronin

 

2013

In 2013, the English Market was the venue for the inaugural Keep Cork Meeting. Over 30 hotels, venues and activity providers from Cork showcased their offering on the night, while Cork Opera House wowed all with a short improvisation act. The main focus of the evening was to highlight Cork’s impressive and unique offering and its ability to successfully host international conferences and events. The English Market was a very fitting venue for such an evening with Cork’s renowned food product being a key selling point to encourage more events into the region and to distinguish it from other destinations.

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2013 in the English Market.

 

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2013 in the English Market.

 

#KeepCorkMeeting Business Tourism Showcase 2013 in the English Market.

We have been delighted to see that so many of our CCB members have been able to innovate and adapt in this new meeting landscape. One such example is the adaptive solutions currently being offered by Team Build, Cork’s leading training and team building company.

 

Online Options:

Team Build has been busy reinventing the wheel, the “team building and events” wheel that is. They have always prided themselves on the quality of in-person events they run but once they realised that their corporate customer’s need for morale boosting, team building events that bring their remote working colleagues together in a fun, challenging and diverting way was greater than ever, they were determined to find a way to meet their new needs.  With the help of apps and html platforms  they spent lockdown writing and developing a suite of Virtual Events that could solve their customers needs in a whole new way. They have launched some totally new events like Da Vinci Trail, Down To The Wire and Virtual Treasure Hunts, plus they have adapted and reconfigured some of their most popular events to be run online.

The feedback they have gotten has been great so far and they are delighted to have be able to play their part in aiding their customers in terms of team integration, boosting morale and staying sane by having a bit of craic during these strange and testing times.

“Thank you. We were delighted with the engagement across our hotels, such a fun hour for us all to be connected.” TRIGON

“Excellent. Some parts difficult but very entertaining. Not sure who ye got to spend hours on Google maps but well played!!” GILEAD

 

You can find more information here: https://teambuild.ie/team-building/virtual/

 

Outdoor Options:

Likewise as lockdown eased Team Build realised that their customers were desperate for fun activities they could do together as a family or group of friends out in the fresh air. In collaboration with Fota House & Gardens they have adapted their Laser Clay Shooting and Archery activities and lessons so they can be run safely, following all guidelines and in a socially distanced way that offers family, friends and colleagues the opportunity to do something fun together in-person whilst also learning a new skill. The feedback has been great and they are delighted to be heading back to Fota House & Gardens on Sat 25th & Sun 26th July.

They are hugely grateful to their Local Enterprise Office and Trading Online Voucher scheme which has allowed them to update their website so that it is now super easy for customers to book their archery and laser clay shooting slots in advance and ensure that their contact with people outside their pod/family is kept to an absolute minimum. In terms of other solutions they can offer going forward, they are delighted to say that now this outdoor event model had been proven it has given them and their potential customers the confidence that it can be run efficiently, safely, and be of huge benefit to customers.  Team Build is now be in a position to offer outdoor events at other locations and for corporate/ conference clients going forward.

 

You can find more information here: https://teambuild.ie/events/