HAND IN HAND
Guy Bigwood , chief changemaker and CEO of GDS Movement , details how sustainability is becoming a must
e have reached a milestone moment in sustainable tourism , and we are now at a point where nearly everyone – be they venues , suppliers , destinations or participants – knows that we need to take action now .
Climate change is , and will continue to be , a presence in our personal and professional lives . The business case for sustainability – often debated over the years – is now clear . To become a successful company , organisation , or destination , you must have a sustainability strategy and effective operational plan .
Conversations have now moved on for tourism decision-makers in cities , towns and regions across the UK , to the practicalities of how to make sustainable tourism work and how do we speed-up and scale-up the transition to a more sustainable visitor economy ?
In the UK , we have destinations that have , in a very short time , made great progress and shown that it is possible to shift an entire city ’ s tourism industry to a new and
“ Partnership across destinations can then produce a collaborative advantage , which I have seen delivers a far greater positive impact to the businesses and residents of a destination .”
more sustainable path .
Working with these destinations and other cities , we have learned that to promote better environmental and social practices , we need to make sustainability simpler and more collaborative .
Sustainability doesn ’ t work on its own . Many organisations have focused on using sustainability as a competitive edge . That may be a great way to kick start an organisation ’ s journey , but ultimately if we are going to achieve net zero carbon emissions and waste , to generate social impact , we have got to work together as an industry to get there .
This partnership across destinations can then produce a collaborative advantage , which I have seen delivers a far greater
positive impact to the businesses and residents of a destination .
Coventry and Warwickshire is one of the destinations that is serious about sustainability , and is working to create a collaborative partnership to establish the best approach for working on a sustainable tourism strategy for the region .
GDS is working on a collaboration project with Destination Coventry , Shakespeare ’ s England and West Midlands Growth Company to drive this strategy .
While this work is in the early stages , discussions are already ongoing around infrastructure , travel , food waste , recycling and a range of other key areas to help strengthen the region ’ s sustainability credentials .
This is a case of everyone pulling in the same direction , working as a destination cluster , and not trying to gain a competitive advantage over their neighbours .
There is a clear ambition from the partnership to go beyond net zero and to add something back , repairing the damage cause by unsustainable practice over the last 100 years .
DMOs have the potential to catalyse dynamic change across the tourism and events industry , and we are very excited by the prospect of what we could achieve in Coventry and Warwickshire through this collaborative partnership . CN