A white paper released at the UKinbound Annual Convention in Belfast reveals how a pioneering partnership between Green Tourism, Visit Belfast, and Belfast City Council helped propel Northern Ireland’s capital into the Global Destinations Sustainability Index Top 10.
The report, Sustainable tourism for cities and stakeholders, and the Belfast model for success, is co-authored by Green Tourism, Visit Belfast, and the Global Destinations Sustainability Movement.
The partnership between Green Tourism, Visit Belfast and Belfast City Council was first launched in 2021 to help the city’s tourism sector recover following the Covid-19 pandemic and to help achieve the Belfast Resilience Goal of being an inclusive, zero-emissions, climate-resilient economy within a generation.
Eighteen months on, the white paper reveals how the four partners have collaborated to put this commitment into action and to achieve the following remarkable results:
- Belfast’s rise from 47th place into the Top 10 in the annual 2022 Global Destinations Sustainability Index, which measures the sustainability performance of tourism destinations, to drive innovation and regeneration of the tourism industry.
- Belfast positioned as the only destination on the island of Ireland and one of two cities in the United Kingdom to make the top 10 position.
- More than 90 Belfast hotels, attractions and restaurants have committed to sustainable tourism through the internationally recognised Green Tourism certification and awards programme – up from 5 in 2021. 47 Green Tourism or Green Meetings members are now Green Tourism Award-holders, up from 8 before the Belfast initiative.
75% of Belfast hotel bedrooms now hold a sustainability certification – up from 25% in 2021.
Titanic Belfast, ICC Belfast, Queen’s University Belfast, and Belfast Zoo were amongst the first businesses to join Visit Belfast’s Green Tourism programme.
Now, 75% of all Belfast hotel bedrooms are sustainability certified with over 20 leading city hotels holding a Green Tourism Award.
The public-private sector partnership approach that has contributed to Belfast’s transition to a more sustainable destination should be seen by other destinations as ‘a blueprint for excellence’, according to Green Tourism’s Managing Director, Scott Maclean.
Maclean said of the transition: “We see this white paper as a pathway for others to instigate changes and improvements that put sustainability at the heart of their tourism sector and hope it can be seen as a blueprint for excellence for all forward-thinking destinations. Green Tourism is enormously proud to have played a part in Belfast’s transition alongside all our partners and, of course, all the newly accredited Green Tourism member businesses.”
The white paper, Sustainable tourism for cities and stakeholders, and the Belfast model for success, is available here.