Visit Belfast wins UK excellence award for its sustainable tourism drive


Visit Belfast has secured ABPCO’s first-ever Excellence Award for Corporate & Social Responsibility, reports Clodagh Dooley

Pictured celebrating the win are (L-R) Gerry Lennon, Visit Belfast Chief Executive and Kathryn Thomson, Chair of Visit Belfast. Picture by Darren Kidd/PressEye

Visit Belfast’s commitment to driving tourism growth in a new and sustainable way has been recognised by Britain’s leading body of conference organisers.

In a major first for the Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (ABPCO) and the destination marketing organisation for the Belfast City Region, Visit Belfast came out on top to secure its inaugural Corporate and Social Responsibility award at its annual Excellence Awards 2021 in London.

Visit Belfast won over the judges with the city’s renewed drive towards a more regenerative tourism model. It even pipped Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre (EICC) and P&J Jive, Aberdeen’s state-of-the-art event complex – two of the UK conference industry’s most progressive sustainability heavyweights – to the title.

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Revealing the APBCO 2021 Excellence Award winners at London’s ExCel, the judges commended Visit Belfast for the “extent, commitment, impact and inclusivity” shown in delivering a suite of initiatives that put sustainability first. Judges also commended how the city had adapted and reimagined its approach to tourism in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Within the year, Visit Belfast worked in partnership with Belfast City Council to develop the city’s first sustainable tourism and impact plan. The organisation 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.

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Visit Belfast chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said: “Belfast’s resilience and dynamism are clear as the city continues to innovate at a local, national and international level. 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. We are working hard to ensure that, as we rebuild the city’s tourism economy in an inclusive and sustainable way, the sector continues to deliver positive outcomes for not only our tourism and hospitality businesses, but our residents, communities and visitors for many years to come.”


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Clodagh Dooley

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