Gloucestershire businesses working together for a sustainable visitor economy

Gloucestershire businesses are said to be taking control to ensure sustainable development for the county’s visitor economy.

Working with Partnership – Visit Gloucestershire (VG) on its newly launched Sustainability Champions programme, businesses aimed to tackle tough environmental and social topics, to share them with other businesses and come up with ways in which the visitor economy can become more sustainable.

These ten companies came come together at an inspiring, for an industry workshop delivered with the University of Gloucestershire.

WWT Slimbridge, Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum, Fosters Events, Crossways Guesthouse, Stroud Brewery – a B Corp business, Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham, Cheltenham Festivals, Forest Green Rovers and Briarfields Motel and Touring Park came together for an industry workshop delivered with the University of Gloucestershire.

The workshop is said to have been a huge success, with discussions about involving people from all walks of life, recycling, food and drink, different ways of working and how to make the county an environmental and social leader.

After an open and collaborative session, the group collectively committed to continue working together to showcase the destination’s responsible visitor offer; to trouble shoot the complex topic and ultimately, to change the conversation around sustainability in Gloucestershire. The room was filled with positive but determined businesspeople also discussing eco-anxiety and the need to pave the way.

Andrew Lansley, innovation manager at Cheltenham Festivals, said: “Cheltenham Festivals is committed to becoming more sustainable, and is already signed up to the Vision 2025 pledge. The Sustainability Champions workshop with Visit Gloucestershire was a fantastic opportunity to connect with businesses around the county, and to discuss the opportunities and challenges of implementing sustainable practice in Gloucestershire.”

The group agreed to establish a Sustainability Champions network for all Gloucestershire businesses to join who aspire to be sustainable champions. Along with working with students from the university to develop a portfolio of marketing material and tools and resources to share best practice, that showcases Gloucestershire as a sustainable destination.

Each business has written compelling case studies, filled with successes around the topic as well as the challenges they face. The case studies were then showcased at Gloucestershire’s Net Zero event on the November 16 alongside VG’s climate action plan.

Hannah McDonnell, sustainability and social value Lead at Visit Gloucestershire added: “Our sustainability champions programme brings together dedicated visitor economy businesses to share good practice, support one another and celebrate their often-unsung commitment to sustainability. 

“Despite the challenges, these businesses are committed to making a difference and ultimately provide positive and responsible experiences for Gloucestershire’s visitors. “

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