Published: 23rd November 2023



Maritime Belfast Trust, the charity responsible for promoting and preserving Belfast’s maritime heritage has received a Gold award from industry specialists, Green Tourism, for its commitment to sustainability. Previous gold award winners have included London’s Tower Bridge and Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

Maritime Belfast applied for the internationally recognised Green Tourism Standard with funding and support from Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast. The Green Tourism Standard recognises organisations that work responsibly, ethically, and sustainably, contribute to the community, reduce their environment impact and are accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff.

Belfast City Council and Visit Belfast are working with Green Tourism to position the city as a leader in sustainable tourism and help support businesses achieve sustainable growth.

Kerrie Sweeney, CEO of Maritime Belfast, said: “One of our key values is caring about people, heritage and the environment, and our approach to sustainability is focused on connecting people and accessible places. One of our key successes is the development, animation, and promotion of the Maritime Mile, 10km of active blueway connecting local people and visitors to our rich maritime heritage by foot and by bike.  Maritime Belfast implements a sustainable approach in its daily activities and projects and is working towards zero waste operations by maintaining, repairing, upgrading, repurposing, reusing, and recycling where possible. We are extremely proud of our work so far and we look forward to continuing our journey and improving our Green Tourism score.”

Among the projects cited was Maritime Belfast’s ‘Out of Stores’ Exhibition, a collection of shipyard related items and artefacts. Many of these items have been donated from former shipyard workers and their families and they have been preserved and put on display along with stories of how they were used and the skills and trades of shipyard workers.

Maritime Belfast’s public realm project, SoundYard, was also praised. Working with young architects, the charity developed an interactive play structure inspired by Belfast’s shipyards and maritime history. The installation recreates the sounds of clanging hammers on metal that would once have been heard across the city. The young architects had to adopt a circular economy approach, and elements were designed with reuse, repurposing, and recycling in mind.

As part of its vision to develop a sustainable future for Belfast’s iconic waterfront, Maritime Belfast is also working with the Waterfront Task Group to create a new development framework for the area. The framework will support net zero aspirations specifically reducing lifestyle-carbon by enhancing active travel options and connecting multiple urban neighbourhoods with the city’s waterfront.

Jac Callon, Senior Manager – Sustainability and Impact from Visit Belfast said: “Receiving the Gold accreditation with Green Tourism is testament to the work and ambition demonstrated by the Maritime Belfast Trust for the maritime area of Belfast. By showcasing that the city has a growing portfolio of tourism and events businesses committed to sustainable practices, the city remains attractive in a highly competitive marketplace. The efforts of Maritime Belfast Trust support the city-vision of transitioning to an inclusive, zero-emissions and climate resilient economy within a generation. A huge congratulations to the Maritime Belfast Trust team for attaining their gold accreditation.”

For further information on Maritime Belfast’s green journey click here