GDS-Movement’s Chief Changemaker and CEO, Guy Bigwood, recently spoke about Coventry and Warwickshire’s sustainability approach.
“We 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, increasingly be, affecting 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 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 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 kickstart an organisation’s journey, but ultimately if we are going to achieve net zero carbon emissions and waste, and 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.
The Coventry and Warwickshire DMO 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-Movement 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 to help strengthen the region’s sustainability credentials around infrastructure, travel, food waste, recycling and a range of other key areas are already ongoing.
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.
From the partnership, there is a clear ambition to go beyond net zero and to add something back, repairing the damage caused by unsustainable practice over the last 100 years.
Destination Management Organisations 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.”
About Guy Bigwood: Chief Changemaker and Managing Director of GDS Movement.
For the last 17 years, Guy has been delivering award-winning consulting services focused on helping cities, governments, associations and the tourism/events industry step up, scale up, and speed up their sustainability programmes and operational practices.
He is the founder of GDS-Index and Chief Changemaker of the Global Destinations Sustainability Movement. He has worked with over 90 DMOs and NTOs to help them benchmark, create, implement, and communicate their regenerative tourism and events strategies.
– More about the Team
– Download the 2022 GDS-Index results report, Raising the Bar
– See the 2022 GDS-Index Top 30
– Here’s a template to help you hire the best sustainability manager