Sustainability is a growing global trend across a whole range of industries around the world, especially in tourism. The pandemic has changed people’s way of thinking in so many ways and they are now thinking more about Sustainability when it comes to their destination experience.
It is clear that the industry needs to reflect the current thinking, for example; tour operators are now requesting independent sustainability credentials. As we are an island off an island this presents challenges as people want to reduce their carbon footprint but have to travel to get here. Therefore, we need to show visitors that when they get here we have an environmentally friendly visitor experience to offer. Tourism Northern Ireland are working on a Regeneration and Sustainability strategy to help promote Northern Ireland as a Sustainable Destination. This will be applied to marketing campaigns which will help send a positive message to visitors. However, there is a lot of work to be done in this growing market, so it is important that we as an industry need to work towards a global recognised accreditation for Northern Ireland.
Below is some background on Sustainable Tourism, benefits, importance, and future trends. We have also provided a list of useful resources with guidance to help you begin your Sustainability journey.
Sustainable Tourism Simplified
In tourism, sustainability is a practice of trying to:
- make as low an impact as possible on the environment and local culture
- helping to generate income and employment for the local economy.
In simple terms it can be broken down into three pillars;
Benefits of Sustainable Tourism
Practicing sustainability as a Northern Ireland Tourism provider will help protect, contribute and ensure the future of the NI tourism industry.
There are many clear benefits to sustainability for providers and the overall industry which include:
- cost savings
- increased profitability
- improved reputation
- access to an increasing market of environment- and culture- conscious customers
Green Tourism Certification is the largest and most established scheme of its kind in the world, recognised by both UK national and regional government as a key part of its drive towards sustainability.
Tourism NI expects the theme of sustainability to be central to the global tourism industry in years to come. They highlight a number of opportunities for local tourism providers, including:
- keeping local, ie sourcing produce, staff and services from your vicinity
- promoting your green credentials for greatest impact and increased business
- meeting demands of particular demographic, eg eco-conscious and health focused individuals
For more information and advice to help you embrace sustainable practices and work towards accreditation then you can get in touch with Tourism Northern Ireland, local Council or Tourist Information centre.