Niche tourism opportunities

Sustainable tourism

Sustainability is a growing global trend across a whole range of industries around the world.

In tourism, sustainability is a practice of attempting to make as low an impact as possible on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income and employment for the local economy. 

What does it mean in practice?

Sustainable tourism is not the same as eco-tourism or green tourism, which focus on conservation and environmental implications respectively. Rather than being a ‘tourism product’, sustainable tourism is a way of doing things to protect and ensure the future of the local tourism industry.

There are many clear benefits to sustainability, including are cost savings, increased profitability, improved reputation and access to an increasing market of environment- and culture- conscious customers.

Going Green

Small steps in your business can help you make it more sustainable, from:

  • minimising your business waste
  • improving energy and water efficiency
  • increasing community engagement
  • sourcing local produce

You can download guidance with practical hints and tips on going green (PDF, 1.5Mb) .

For more advice to help you embrace sustainable practices in your business, see make your business more sustainable. For hotels, see use resources efficiently in your hotel

Green accreditation

Green Tourism Certification is the largest and most established scheme of its kind in the world, recognised by both UK national and regional government as a key part of its drive towards sustainability. See Green Tourism Certification.

Future trends

Tourism NI expects the theme of sustainability to be central to the global tourism industry in years to come. They highlights a number of opportunities for local tourism providers, including:

  • keeping in local, ie sourcing produce, staff and services from your vicinity  
  • promoting your green credentials for greatest impact and increased business
  • meeting demands of particular demographic, eg eco-conscious and health focused individuals