Ards & North Down Green Tourism Network

Local Gov't • Ards and North Down

A group of likeminded businesses striving to make Ards and North Down a green destination.

  • Green Network member: independent food company 'Indie F√ºde'.
  • Green Network member: immersive experience company 'Mobile Team Adventure'.
  • Green Network member: 'Stand up paddleboarding Hub NI'.

The Green Network's Story

The Green Network was born from a desire by local businesses to work together to collaborate and share information in order to make Ards and North Down Borough Council (ANDBC) a sustainable destination.

In 2019, ANDBC put 25 local businesses through a green programme. This programme offered businesses the opportunity to avail of a green health check. This check highlighted what each business was doing well but also what could be improved in terms of being more sustainable. Businesses were also given a PDF of their green story. For the first time, many of the businesses used this information to talk about how they were striving to be sustainable and what that would mean for visitors.

In 2020, several of the businesses approached ANDBC to express interest in doing more. After some research into what other destinations were doing, and working with Tourism Northern Ireland in regard to their regenerative tourism programme, ANDBC decided to proceed with a project to create a Green Network.

An Expression of Interest was made public and potential members had to show how they met particular sustainable criteria as a key part of the research showed that membership must be authentic. When the group was formed it was very much led by the members in order to get to the grassroots of what they wanted to achieve for their collective businesses. The following Action Plan was agreed.

The goal is for AND tourism businesses to position themselves at the forefront of green and sustainable practices leading to the achievement of a green destination status. This will be achieved via collaboration to create sustainable experiences, sharing best practices with each other and a marketing plan to talk about the green destination.

Useful Learnings from The Green Network

Ensure that the commitment is authentic. Research suggested that many businesses decided to become accredited in terms of their sustainability. However, it was also suggested that when this was done to simply receive a certificate it was picked up by the visitor. Businesses must be completely committed to sustainability.

Monitoring of the success of this project will be carried out in March 2022 once the network has been established but experiences have brought business to many local businesses during a very difficult financial period so it is hoped that this project will be successful once fully measured.

The Green Network's Story

Number of visitors booked on experiences.
Level of satisfaction of these experiences via post activity online research.
Number of people availing of token programme.
Audit of businesses after marketing campaigns.
Awareness of ANDBC as a green destination (survey).

Feeling inspired? Discover more about this story...

Response to climate crisis

Mitigation

Reach

Area

Organisation

Local Gov't, 250 to 10,000 people

Shared by

Northern Ireland Local Government Association

Updated Feb, 2024

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