Making the event and tourism industry more sustainable is no easy task. The complexity of the issues before us is daunting. So, where to start?
In the 2019 Whitepaper of the Global Destination Sustainability Index we set out four core building blocks to support destinations to become more regenerative: Take the Lead; Develop a Masterplan; Integrate Sustainability into Core Strategy; and Become a Master of Collaboration.
Dublin’s Convention Bureau responded to this message, and on the 24th of July brought together 12 key stakeholders to form a Sustainability Taskforce for the city. Present were a range of representatives, from local Hotels and the Dublin City Council to the Association of Irish Professional Conference Organisers (AIPCO) and the Chamber of Commerce. We, Guy Bigwood and myself, had the privilege to facilitate the co-creative process that is, and will be, part of the purpose of this task force: producing a sustainability strategy for the tourism and events sector in Dublin.
By using the Sustainable Development Goals to highlight both problematic and promising areas for future development, and mapping key stakeholders in Dublin and Ireland, the workshop gave shape to what will become Dublin’s roadmap for the future. As so often, the importance of becoming masters of collaboration was highlighted, as people from different sectors of the industry convened to approach this challenging topic.
The next stage of creating the sustainability strategy will be to engage more stakeholders, to include even more sectors in this co-creative undertaking. This presents us with a challenging, but absolutely crucial, task. Too many strategies and masterplans have failed to come to fruition due to a lack of buy-in. It is essential to get as many people on board from the get-go, as they need to have a sense of ownership over the process to commit and to feel a sense of responsibility to follow through on a strategy.
Returning back to those four building blocks, Dublin deserves praise for taking the lead in improving the legacy of its events and tourism industry by collaborating to create its sustainability strategy.