The challenges facing Ireland’s tourism industry as it braces itself for another year of difficult trading conditions will underpin a major national tourism event scheduled for Limerick’s Thomond Park later this month.
The Tourism Space LIVE is a one-day event for tourism leaders and entrepreneurs taking place in Limerick’s Thomond Park on January 23rd from 9am to 4.30pm, and will include sessions on business, self-empowerment, professional development and sustainability.
Now in its second year, the event is hosted by Tina O’Dwyer, a Co. Clare-based tourism facilitator and clarity coach who has worked with businesses and destinations throughout Ireland.
This year’s speaker line-up includes travel writer Pol O’Cónghaile, celebrity chef Catherine Fulvio, Mary Fitzgerald, proprietor of Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel in Adare, David McCarthy, Head of Hospitality and Tourism from AIB, Catherine McEnery, director from the HR Suite and Ms O’Dwyer who will deliver the keynote speech on sustainability.
The focus on the tourism entrepreneur and business manager, on their skills and motivation levels, is what differentiates The Tourism Space LIVE from other such business gatherings, according to Ms O’Dwyer.
The tourism sector is a challenging place to be right now, with uncertainty over Brexit, operational issues and the focus on making the industry more sustainable.
“A major theme of our event is that profitable businesses that endure over the long-term is one of the biggest contributions the tourism industry can make to social sustainability, supporting thriving communities in Ireland and the world.”
“Sustainability has become the most talked about topic in tourism over the last year. While we are hearing a lot about new policies and attitudes, we are not perhaps hearing enough about practical solutions for tourism businesses,” she added.
She said many tourism businesses in Ireland fall short in their sustainability practices and often don’t know where or how to begin to address those shortcomings.
“We hear that tourism needs to become more sustainable but not many are saying what you actually need to do to make that happen. Or more importantly what benefit it will have for businesses,” she said.
This year’s event will feature a new Sustainability Suite in association with Fáilte Ireland – a place for delegates to meet people with ready-to-go solutions to assist them on their journey towards sustainability.
Businesses in the suite include energy supply companies AC Heating and Calor Bio LPG, as well as Clean the World; a company that has an innovative solution for single use hotel toiletries. Also in attendance will be representatives from Leave no Trace Ireland and Sustainable Travel Ireland. Advice on financial sustainability will be available from the AIB Merchant Services Team and Fáilte Ireland’s Enterprise Support Team.
The suite is one of six initiatives Ms O’Dwyer says will make this year’s event even more sustainable and responsible than last year’s. Actions include a tree planted for every ticket sold, no print materials, no single-use food and beverage supplies, no lanyards with plastic name-card holders and no ‘Made in China’ gifts in goodie bags.
The headline sponsor is AIB with additional support for the event coming from Limerick and City Council.
David McCarthy of AIB said: “AIB is delighted to sponsor the event and take part in the discussion on sectoral performance and sustainability in the hospitality and tourism sector. The event priorities the sustainability agenda and showcases solutions from a green supply change.”
“Supports are needed to help change societal behaviour, and backing our customers in their transition to a more sustainable way of doing business is at the core of what we do,” he added.