Destination Coventry
Destination Coventry

West Midlands and Warwickshire organisations join forces to improve sustainability credentials

Three major tourism organisations are partnering to drive more sustainable tourism across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

Destination Coventry, Shakespeare’s England and the West Midlands Growth Company are collaborating to assess and combat key factors impacting sustainability.

Thanks to Global West Midlands programme funding – managed by the West Midlands Growth Company – the cluster of destinations has started working with the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Movement. They will formulate a vision to integrate sustainable tourism at the heart of their strategy to achieve a regenerative tourism sector in the West Midlands and Warwickshire. 

This includes environmental and societal factors, as regenerative tourism aims to take a destination beyond net zero and create a system that is also able to give something back.

The GDS Movement publishes the renowned GDS-Index, which is a performance improvement programme to make tourism and events more sustainable.

The top seven destinations in the 2023 index are all from Norway, Denmark, and Finland.

Glasgow, which placed eighth, and Belfast, which placed eleventh, are both destinations that have invested in sustainable tourism programmes over several years, to improve their sustainability credentials.

Destination Coventry, Shakespeare’s England and the West Midlands Growth Company will initially assess factors including travel, infrastructure, food waste, recycling and inclusive tourism across Coventry, Birmingham, Solihull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Dudley.

Destination Coventry and Shakespeare’s England have partnered to achieve Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP) status for the Coventry and Warwickshire region – the official delivery body recognised by VisitEngland.

Destination Coventry is the destination management organisation (DMO) for Coventry.

Paul Michael, Chairman of Destination Coventry, said: This collaboration is the best way that we can help to drive significant improvements for sustainable tourism practices across Coventry, Warwickshire and the wider West Midlands.

“We have a shared commitment to ensuring that the events and tourism industry brings positive environmental and societal benefits.

“Our ambition is to eventually be a tourism economy that gives back, and doesn’t take away, and by partnering with GDS Movement we are starting the journey to that goal.”

Darren Tosh, Operations and Marketing Director at Shakespeare’s England, the tourism body for south Warwickshire, added: “The environment and sustainability are becoming increasingly influential factors when consumers are pondering their next break – and rightly so – as we all need to play our part in helping to protect the planet.

“As a region, south Warwickshire has recovered well from the pandemic and we are starting to see a rise in overseas visitors to complement our strong domestic visitor numbers – and being able to demonstrate our green credentials in the future will help us to further stand out from the crowd beyond the fantastic history and heritage, and outdoor spaces that the wider region has to offer.

“Tourism and hospitality businesses in the region are going to be key to this initiative, and we are looking forward to working with them on new approaches to building a sustainable tourist destination.”

Becky Frall, Head of Tourism at the West Midlands Growth Company, said: “We want to put the West Midlands on the map as home to some of the leading sustainable destinations in the UK. Joining forces with the Coventry and Warwickshire LVEP to work with GDS Movement will help us to create flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and live in.

“We know that the tourism sector is highly vulnerable to climate change, so it is of utmost importance to continue our path to net zero to ensure healthier societies and the regeneration of nature across our region.”