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.

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 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

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

A Moment in ‘Thyme’ – The Imperial Hotel, Cork announces launch of a brand new Brasserie at Seventy Six on the Mall with regional producers, charity partnerships and a sustainable approach.

With the introduction of excellent cocktails using high quality Irish liquor from Killahora Orchards, ornate bird cages inspired by The English Market and quirky desserts by the famous duo, Ber and Becky, the offering has evolved into something modern, dynamic and fun and so ‘Thyme at Seventy Six on the Mall’ was born.

The emphasis is on regional, seasonal and sustainable and is in line with their recent ‘Because We Care’ programme which was launched as a response to COVID-19. Sourcing from their neighbours is important not only to support the local economy but also to minimize carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.

Charity donations have been built into the menu with a €1 donation on some menu items. Each time these items are ordered a donation will be made to Cork Simon and Irish Guide Dogs.

Executive Head Chef, Jerome Joyce is working with a vast array of suppliers from County Cork and The English Market which is located a mere 400m from the hotel’s front door. Ballycotton Seafood, Tom Durcan and the world- renowned Fingal Ferguson’s Gubeen Smokehouse to name but a few.

The new menus have things like seafood platters, gigas oysters and market fish of the day as well as some delicious cuts of local Hereford beef like rib ye on the bone and the classic fillet. Desserts include a café gourmand for guests who may wish to opt for something a little lighter.

Bastien Peyraud, General Manager at The Imperial Hotel says “We are so passionate about supporting our local economy here at The Imperial Hotel and Thyme was designed with that as the main focus. Supporting our local farmers & producers and donating to our local charities is at the forefront of what we want to achieve. We want to do business in a way that makes us really proud. We also want to create a really fun experience for our guests so we will also have live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. We are so excited to unveil ‘Thyme’ to our guests look forward to welcoming everyone back to the Grande Dame of Cork very soon”

Thyme at Seventy Six on the Mall is open for reservations Monday to Sunday from 5pm til late

For reservations:

021- 4274040

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

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



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



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



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



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 at #KeepCorkMeeting (info correct at time of event). Photo Joleen Cronin


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



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



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



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.

Week 5 of our ‘Members Being Innovative’ series. The 5 star Castlemartyr Resort Hotel, in lovely East Cork, is renowned for it’s amazing food offering.  With the onset of Covid-19 the property had to make some changes to ensure this same standard was available in a safe environment.

Sean Cooney – Marketing Manager Castlemartyr Resort – “As one of our intimate dining outlets, Franchinis, was unsuitable to allow adequate social distancing, we decided to adapt elements of the Franchinis menu and terrace dining area, with the creation of our new ‘Garden Terrace’. Situated outside the Manor House, with views of the formal gardens and castle ruins, it offers a casual dining experience, ideal for the Summer/Autumn Season. With a new menu (incorporating some Franchini’s favourites) and a selection of dishes featuring locally sourced produce, it has proven a very popular addition so far.#

Cork Convention Bureau would like to wish Castlemartyr Resort all the best with their new Garden Terrace dining option.


We are continuing our ‘Members Being Innovative and Learning to Adapt’ series here at Cork Convention Bureau. Our members are creating new exciting eating spaces and initiatives to ensure social distancing and safety is adhered to while guaranteeing fantastic food quality and a great experience remains. Rochestown Park Hotel, one of our key Meetings and Events venues in Cork, is learning to think outside the box – the Bistro Box that is!

Suttons Diner Club @Rochestown Park Hotel

What is Suttons Diners Club?

Suttons Diners Club is our way of saying thank you for your continued custom and support. It is entirely complimentary to join, no purchase is necessary and as a member you will enjoy monthly offers and special rewards throughout the year.

Member Benefits & Privileges

  • Suttons Diners Club Members Only monthly offers
  • Priority online booking – to secure your table of choice when booking online please enter your Diners Club number:
  • Early booking access to Rochestown Park Hotel events including Communions & early bird prices for Christmas Parties
  • Discounted offers throughout Rochestown Park Hotel & Leisure Centre
  • Exclusive wedding packages
  • Automatic entry in to our Monthly Competition
  • All members get a Birthday Treat when dining with us during the month of their birthday…
  • And lastly all members are entered in to our monthly competitions.

For details of terms and conditions and for any other questions please email

Offers so far have included:

  • Bistro In a Box – restaurant quality takeaway meals
  • Prosecco Promo – Complimentary Prosecco with 4 people dining during the month of July
  • Just Desserts – Complimentary Desserts for members daytime dining in August.

Plus exciting news for Conference and Meeting Delegates:

September will see the relaunch of a socially distanced Roco’s Restaurant and the brand new addition of our new health food bar offering nutritional & healthy options to meetings delegates, conference attendees and diners. This will be available as both an eat-in and take-away option as with all of our dining options.