Three Cork Hotels have had staff awarded the Certificate in Environmental Sustainability Management in Hospitality (CTH) to become Corks first certified Green Mangers. Nicole O’ Leary and Edel Kavanagh from the Cork International and Metropole Hotel and Christina O’ Sullivan from the Imperial Hotel were awarded the certificates in a ceremony in Cork College of FET- Westside Hospitality Campus, a sub-location of Cork College of FET Bishopstown Campus.

The Certificate in Environmental Sustainability is a follow-on programme from the Fifty Shades Greener environmental programme. All three hotels have already completed the 50 Shades Greener Programme resulting in more sustainable tourism in their hotel. This Certificate in Environmental Sustainability management in Hospitality is designed to upskill people working within the hospitality industry to become the ‘Green Managers’ of the future. It empower learners to make a real difference to their workplace by training them to deliver meaningful environmental improvements within their hospitality property.

Reducing the use of energy and water, cutting the production of waste and reducing business utilities will not only facilitate a reduction of carbon emissions but also deliver the potential to save money. If effectively put into practice, the implemented principles can be a win-win for business owners, the industry and the planet. This Level 4 Certificate programme is a practically-driven ‘action-based’ programme, where learners will be presented with a number of tasks in each of the six units to be completed at home or at their workplace. The completion of these modules will allow candidates to measure and reduce utilities costs and wastage.

In an era when reducing our environmental footprint is a pressing requirement for any hospitality organisation, this programme is an essential component of employers’ staff training provision. All good training programmes ideally yield benefits for both the learner and their workplace, but this programme also potentially benefits the earth as well. The programme was available fully funded under the governments Skills to Advance initiative for upskilling.

The Metropole Hotel restaurant (The MET) recently launched their new spring menu, with this beautiful infographic that identifies exactly where all their local produce comes from. By sourcing local food, restaurants demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, both by lowering the carbon footprint of their supply chain and by supporting local communities and producers. The MET has also partnered with the Cope Foundation on a community sensory garden project, as part of their broader diversity and inclusion initiatives, where the fruit and vegetables grown by students and volunteers supported by the charity are then used by the chefs in the hotels. For more information see here.

Volvo Cork Week has introduced significant sustainability measures this year as part of the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s commitment to leading the way in Ireland on low impact events and ocean health.

Many events across Ireland have adopted strong recycling measures but organisers of Volvo Cork Week have gone one step further by putting a special focus on removing the use of single use plastics. The club introduced a full deposit return scheme on all outdoor drinks, in association with Heineken, and a deposit return system for reusable coffee cups at the clubhouse, in association with 2gocup. This has removed tens of thousands of single use plastics.

A special green team and green policy was created at the Royal Cork for the event, who also introduced free water refills at hydration stations in addition to segregated waste bins with clear pictorial signage on site to ensure as much as possible is recycled.

In addition, there was a focus on sustainability at their family fun day and organisers created a marine market to promote local sustainable products within the community. As part of their education and outreach, children were introduced to marine conservation at a family friendly event with marine scientist, best-selling author and Volvo Car Ireland ambassador Finn Van der Aar. Finn is passionate about helping people to live more sustainably and presents crucial environmental and oceanic research in a way that is understandable to all.

During her workshop, children had the chance to learn about how to care for the sea and coastal areas around them. Finn shared how she fell in love with the sea, her fascinating work as a marine biologist as well as tips on how we can combat some marine conservation issues such as marine noise pollution and how to reduce marine plastics. He also gave tips on how to do a great beach clean-up!

Throughout the week the club is sourcing local food and supplies where possible and the world-renowned regatta welcomed the first classic yacht race to their shores this year.  Competitors are also being encouraged to conserve energy where possible (e.g. turn off lights).

Yvonne Durcan, Royal Cork Yacht Club Race Office using 2gocups at Volvo Cork Week

Gavin Deane, General Manager, Royal Cork said, “We like to think that sailing is sustainable, but the truth is that the industry needs to cut its carbon footprint by at least half by 2030 to align with the Paris Agreement. The Royal Cork is committed to actively managing our environmental footprint and this year we developed a significant sustainability strategy for Volvo Cork Week, in association with Heineken, with specific actions to minimise energy consumption, water consumption and reduce waste sent to landfill.  We want to see our seas and waterways free of contamination and plastic pollution, and we want to leave a more environmentally sustainable future for our children and grandchildren.”

Other initiatives in the Volvo Cork Week Green Events Policy include:

  • A bunded on-shore refuelling area for safety boat drivers.
  • Trigger nozzles on hoses for washing down boats to improve water efficiency.
  • Details of sensitive habitats/wildlife to be avoided in Sailing Instructions and briefings.
  • Paper free communications where possible.
  • Provide public transport details on publicity materials and the website.
  • Source products with less packaging to prevent waste.
  • Source recyclable or reusable crockery and cutlery and cups.
  • Provide oil spill kits, fuel collars, no-spill refueling devices and training for support vessels and staff.
  • Prohibit overboard discharge of any rubbish including bow decals and include this rule in the Sailing Instructions & OR Notice of Race.
  • Prohibit littering at shore facilities, including cigarette butts and chewing gum.
  • Affix bow stickers to competitors’ boat to ensure they do not come loose during racing.
  • Instigate a boat wash down system prior to and after the event to prevent the spread of non-native invasive species.
  • Provide competitors with refillable water bottles and signpost to drinking water to reduce the number of disposed plastic bottles.
  • Record energy and water use and try to reduce these figures for future events.
  • Organise a litter pick to collect any litter which may not have found its way into the right bins.
  • Constantly meet & review the environmental impact of the event and consider improvements for the next one. Note these and implement for future events.

In addition to its green initiatives for Volvo Cork Week, the Royal Cork has a full sustainability plan in place.  For more see and

The Visit Cork Green Award 2021 was awarded to the Cork International Hotel for their team’s continual work on improving the hotel’s sustainability and their support to local causes throughout the year.

The hotel was one of many CCB members to work on improving their sustainable outcomes this year, with the Cork International Hotel standing out in particular for the below actions:

  • Created a greening team to encourage a environmentally aware culture.
  • Created a Greening Manifesto.
  • Environment, Sustainability, Diversity & Inclusion & Community have been made core strategic pillars for their company Trigon hotels.
  • Completed training with Fifty Shades Greener which has helped to measure their Carbon Foot Print and manage resources.
  • Created a roof garden which now supplies herbs and vegetables to the their kitchen.
  • Harvested Rain Water to service the roof garden.
  • Built their first Bee Hotel.
  • Signed up to be part of the Irish Pollinator Plan.
  • Worked with Cope Foundation and Ability@work to promote Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace.
  • Developing a sensory garden with the Cope Foundation.
  • Launched the Community Spirit Awards which seeks to recognise and highlight the amazing contributions of both individual and groups in the community.

To learn more about the Cork International Hotel’s sustainable actions visit:

The Visit Cork Green Award was set up to encourage and reward our CCB Members who made a commitment to operating sustainably and will return again in 2022.

Cork has made the Top 20 official list of sustainable destinations in the world. The news was announced this week by the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), the world’s largest destination sustainability ranking programme. Other destinations who secured a top 20 place include Brussels, Sydney, Zurich, Belfast, Kerry and Helsinki. The news is very timely coming in the week of COP 26, the UN Climate Change Conference and highlights the Cork Tourism Industry’s focus on improving destination sustainability in the region. The submission was made by Visit Cork, the official tourism body for the Cork region, incorporating both leisure (Pure Cork) and business tourism (Cork Convention Bureau) in a single voice. 

Cork initially entered the GDS-Index in 2018 with an aim to be recognised as a leading destination in social, environmental and economic sustainability for both business and leisure tourism. Since then Visit Cork has continually worked with its many industry partners in improving Cork’s standing within the index, from an initial score of 42.3% in 2018 to a high of 71% in 2021. This places Cork in an impressive 18th place among a total of 73 other destinations and it is hoped that this good standing within the index will help promote Cork as a ‘green’ destination to both sustainably conscious tourists and event planners. More information on the Top 20 can be found through this link:

‘The submission was very much a collaborative effort with Failte Ireland leading the way by initially engaging with the GDS-Movement and introducing the Convention Bureaux of Ireland to the concept in 2018. The process involved a year-long effort of collating data and information and is very reliant on the support of key stakeholders, especially Cork City and County Council. Other partners involved were Cork Airport, Cork Chamber, the Universities, Bus Eireann, Irish Rail and the Cork hotels who collaborated successfully to ensure that the submission would enhance our sustainability credentials’ according to Seamus Heaney Head of Visit Cork.

There have been a number of recent Visit Cork led initiatives which have contributed to Cork’s improving rank within the index. Starting with the creation of the Visit Cork Sustainability Strategy in 2020 which set out an action plan for increasing sustainability throughout Cork tourism and events by working with the industry. This in-turn has brought about projects such as increasing the number of Cork Convention Bureau Member hotels with active third-party sustainability certification by offering a hugely subsidised accreditation programme in partnership with Green Hospitality. This has had the effect of increasing the number of member hotels with active accreditation from just 23% in 2020 to 70% in 2021.

Visit Cork also launched a yearly Green Award to encourage and reward Cork tourism businesses with a commitment to operating sustainably. In December 2020, the inaugural award was won by Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens in Clonakilty for their continual work on sustainable initiatives throughout the year including an extensive tree planting programme. The submission process for the 2021 award is now open to Cork tourism businesses, with a winner being chosen during the Visit Cork ‘Pure Green’ week coming up later this month.

Ger O’Mahoney, Chairman of Visit Cork, welcomed the GDS-Index announcement for 2021 and said the result will hugely encourage tourism providers in the region to adopt, promote and recognise responsible and regenerative practices. The increasing public and political focus on equality, diversity, and climate change have had a massive positive impact on destinations and there is a requirement now to prove ourselves as being sustainability focused on the international stage. Visit Cork strives to place sustainable tourism at the heart of the region’s overall development.

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’:



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 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
  • 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 or call 021 421 9000.

As the start of the year is traditionally a quieter time in the tourism industry, Visit Cork would like to use this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing things to see and do in Cork City and County by re-launching our weekly one hour online Cork Tourism Familiarisation Sessions, which includes updates from Cork tourism businesses and industry discussion in a soapbox format.

Below you will find the recordings of all the 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 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



Session 14 – The Titanic Trail, Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the West Cork Islands



Session 15 – Cork Playful Culture Trail, Charles Fort and St. Peter’s Cork



Session 16 – Cork Harbour Cruises, Youghal Tourism, Bantry House & Garden and Clonakilty Blackpudding VISITOR CENTRE



Session 17 – Cool Running Events, UCC Visitor Centre, Cork Harbour Boat Hire and the Butter Museum



Session 18 – Ballymaloe House, Jameson Distillery Midleton and IMART 2022



Session 19 – Visit Ballyhoura, Cobh Heritage Centre, Cork Craft & Design and West Cork Music


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

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:

Event Plan: Being Innovative and Learning to Adapt:
When the pandemic arrived in Ireland, the event industry was hit hard. Life as we knew it changed forever for everyone working in the event industry. The new reality was here whether the team at Event Plan liked it or not, and so we thought, are we going to move with the change or let the change move us?

From May 2020, we started getting calls from clients about different ways to do business which would have been traditionally carried out face-to-face. However, due to the pandemic, this was not possible. Therefore, as a team we began brainstorming ideas of what to do next. Subsequently, VE Studio Cork was born. VE Studio Cork was established through a collaboration between Cork’s best-known event management company, Event Plan and audio visual and digital specialists, CAVS in August 2020.

The first of its kind in Munster, the studio allows for virtual and hybrid-virtual events to take place in a safe, controlled and socially distanced environment. This will enable people to experience the atmosphere they would expect from physically attending a conference, corporate event and more from the safety of their own work or home space.

Engaging live-streaming event space which includes:

  • Pre-produced content
  • Audience interactivity
  • Scalable end-to-end event solutions
  • The combination of multiple-camera and virtual camera set-ups
  • State-of-the-art digital projection, visual and audio technology

All of which help to create a unique and interactive live event experience. Events can be pre-recorded, recorded as live or run completely live-streamed with the ability to connect to any social media, online video, or digital communications platform.

Among the many services we offer include:

  • Corporate events
  • Webinars
  • Livestreams
  • Product launches
  • Conferences

The event space can be adapted for multiple purposes; the only limit is your imagination.

As we navigate through these different times and embark on this new venture, we are extremely grateful to have successfully pivoted within a continuing and evolving business climate. Virtual events are here to stay, and we are excited to embark on the new opportunities that lie ahead. We look forward to working with our clients and industry colleagues again. We ask that you support us going forward and help the event industry get back on track. For enquiries or more information contact us on 0214399723 or