Green Tourism launches ground-breaking partnership with Visit Belfast and Belfast City Council to help local tourism sector recover and put sustainability high on the agenda

1165
Pictured officially launching the new initiative are Lord Mayor of Belfast Kate Nicholl and Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon

Green Tourism has launched a ground-breaking partnership with Visit Belfast and Belfast City Council to rapidly advance sustainability within the city’s tourism sector and help the local sector recover from the challenges of Covid-19.

The new partnership will allow tourism and hospitality business within the council area to apply for the internationally recognised Green Tourism Standard, thanks to funding and support from Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast. The Green Tourism Standard recognises an organisation that works responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributes to their community, is reducing their impact on the environment and aims to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff.

Securing the Green Tourism Standard, the largest and most established sustainable certification programme in the world, will help the city and Belfast businesses not only tackle the climate emergency but also attract new business from consumers and clients who are increasingly seeking out destinations with strong sustainable and ethical credentials.

Speaking at the “Sustainable Belfast” launch event, Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive of Green Tourism, said: “We very excited to be partnering with Visit Belfast and the Belfast City Council to help deliver their bold and ambitious green tourism plans for the city. Belfast’s commitment to greening their tourism businesses and destination is very forward-thinking and at a level I have not experienced before. It is truly to be commended and hopefully an example to other destinations looking to put sustainability standards at the top of the agenda and at the same time support their local businesses as they build back better from the impact of Covid-19.

Advertisement

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl said: “Covid-19 has changed how we think and feel about the world around us and it provided us with renewed opportunity and commitment to rebuild Belfast in a different way. We know that we must all play our part – individually, collectively and across society. Regardless of industry or sector, we all bear responsibility for stopping and reversing the effects of climate change on our planet.”

Belfast City Council declared a climate change emergency in October 2019 and unveiled the city’s first Climate Plan last year.

“Belfast City Council is committed to taking action on climate change, and it is something that I will be focusing on in my year as Lord Mayor. I’m pleased to launch this initiative, which recognises the role the tourism industry can play in transitioning to an inclusive, zero emissions economy within a generation,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Taking urgent action on climate change will not only protect our city’s natural environment, but also our built heritage and cultural assets that make this city a wonderful place to live, work and visit.”

Visit Belfast’s three-year recovery plan, Rebuilding City Tourism 2021-24, sets out a new direction of travel for tourism promotion. The plans focus on supporting sustainable tourism recovery while moving to a greener and more inclusive tourism model. The landmark plan also forces a rethink about what a new and successful tourism destination looks like.

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast said:

“Even before Covid-19, visitors and policymakers were taking a more critical look at tourism and its potential impacts. Tourists and visitors are more culturally and environmentally aware, more health conscious, and want to seek out unique, indigenous and sharable experiences in destinations that demonstrate support for its people, place and planet.

“Partnership has been a central pillar of Visit Belfast’s success for more than two decades, and by facing these challenges together, we will succeed in rebuilding tourism to the Belfast city region for the betterment of businesses, our employees, our residents and our visitors.”

As part of the launch the launch of this new initiative, Visit Belfast has also announced that it has received a bronze accreditation from Green Tourism.

“As the City’s Destination Marketing Organisation, we know that improving our sustainability credentials will be key to securing fresh business in the new normal. That’s why securing an independent, third party accreditation from a recognised authority is so important.

“We have a bold ambition – to have 50% of our tourism and hospitality businesses committed to going for a Green Tourism Award in the next 12 months, supporting a green recovery and positioning Belfast as a sustainable destination.”

Visit Belfast 2

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.