Three properties in Northern Ireland’s leading collection of hotels have received Silver Awards in Green Tourism. The Grand Central Hotel, Europa Hotel and Stormont Hotel, part of Hastings Hotels, have each received Silver Awards for Green Tourism. The Europa Hotel has also been awarded Silver accreditation for Green Meetings.
Green Tourism promotes greener ways for businesses and organisations to operate, and the awards certification programme recognises the commitment of tourism businesses which are actively working to become more sustainable. The Green Meetings accreditation has recently been introduced as a new standard specific to meetings and events venues.
The Silver Awards are in recognition of the work and extensive sustainability initiatives and policies Hastings Hotels has implemented, which include the introduction of environmentally friendly guest amenities, including the replacement of plastic water bottles in guest bedrooms with sustainable water containers; the use of environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals; where possible, internal and external lighting has been replaced to LED and 100 per cent of food waste diverted from landfill and is instead transported to anaerobic plant helping to create a net carbon saving estimated at 80 tonnes of CO2.
According to the Green Tourism report, Hastings Hotels ‘displayed an excellent understanding of sustainability and awareness of opportunities and challenges associated with running a responsible business. And scored well across the board but excelled in the Awareness, Food & Drink, Communications, Health & Wellbeing and Destination goals – showing a commitment to continual improvement, a willingness to implement change where required and dedication in the pursuit of sustainable business practices.’
Raymond Duncan, Compliance, Operations and Procurement Manager of Hastings Hotels, said: “As part of our journey to becoming a more sustainable hotel group, we are delighted to have secured Silver Green Tourism accreditation for our three Belfast properties and a second Silver award for the Europa Hotel for Green Meetings.
We have developed the Hastings Hotels ‘Go Green’ Policy, and as a group, we are committed to ensuring that we measure and evaluate our current practices, adopting the most effective policies to minimise our carbon footprint and adhere to sustainable practices wherever possible. This is very much part of a long-term sustainability strategy for Hastings Hotels, and we are now working towards securing Green Tourism accreditation for the Culloden Estate & Spa, Ballygally Castle and Everglades Hotel.”
“We take the role we play in sustainability as an employer very seriously, and with over 1,000 employees, we know the difference we can help make. As part of this, we have developed a bespoke sustainability programme for our staff to help them better understand and tackle the issues surrounding sustainability. This will enable them to become champions for best environmental practice, not only across our six properties but in their day-to-day life,” Raymond added.
Hastings Hotels undertook the process as part of a city-wide sustainable Green Tourism partnership funded by Belfast City Council and delivered by Visit Belfast. The organisation’s Sustainability and Impact Manager, Jac Callan congratulated Hastings Hotels on its efforts in achieving these important green tourism and meetings accreditations: “We are delighted that the three Belfast properties of the Hastings Hotel Group have achieved Silver accreditation. Sustainability is increasingly shaping the future of the visitor marketplace and the business events space we operate in, so it’s crucial we meet these expectations if we want to attract new and repeat business to Belfast. By demonstrating the city has a growing portfolio of tourism businesses committed to environmentally friendly and ethical practices helps the city remain attractive in a highly competitive marketplace.
Tourism is playing a crucial role in supporting the city-vision of transitioning to an inclusive, zero-emissions, and climate-resilient economy within a generation. We’re delighted to be helping our tourism partners with the support of Belfast City Council in leading the way to a more sustainable and regenerative tourism model; one that meets the needs of visitors, the industry and the local community, now and in the future.”