Visit Belfast has been awarded for its commitment in sustainably driving tourism growth by Britain’s leading body of conference organisers. The Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) announced Visit Belfast as the winner of its inaugural ‘Corporate and Social Responsibility’ award at the annual Excellence Awards in London.
With some close competition, Visit Belfast beat Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre (EICC) and P&J Jive –Aberdeen’s state-of-the-art event complex– to the title. The judges commended the “extent, commitment, impact and inclusivity” that it has shown in delivering a suite of initiatives, focusing on sustainability.
This is just one of the Belfast’s significant achievements of 2021, after it was ranked as one of the world’s top 20 sustainable destinations across 73 cities in the 2021 Global Destinations Sustainability Index.
Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said: “Belfast’s resilience and dynamism is clear as the city continues to innovate at a local, national and international level and I’m delighted that our commitment and collective actions have been duly recognised at the highest level within the business events sector.
“Tourism has been a catalyst for regeneration in Belfast, supporting thousands of jobs and livelihoods, and we are working hard to ensure that as we rebuild the city’s tourism economy in an inclusive and sustainable way.”
All within the year, Visit Belfast worked in partnership with Belfast City Council to develop the city’s first sustainable tourism and impact plan, launched the largest ever Green Tourism partnership with a city to support businesses on the road to sustainability and established a new events framework to help event organisers deliver more sustainable events in Belfast.
Setting a lead within its own operations this year, Visit Belfast became a certified organisation with a Green Tourism standard, rolling out sustainability training to all staff and Board members, creating a new sustainability and impact role within the company, establishing a Visit Belfast sustainability team and developing sustainability blogs, toolkits and practical support to help local event organisers and delegates make more sustainable choices.
Visit Belfast is also developing a network of local CSR partners and projects to support conferences and events held in the city. Next year, around one third of all conferences in Belfast will have a sustainability plan – a figure it is aiming to grow to 80 percent by 2025.