Sustainable Tourism

Tourism Kingston strives to integrate sustainability into each of its business sectors and into its overall destination management strategy.

  • May 2022

    Greenstep Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge

  • Nov 2022

    GreenStep Visitor Information Centre Bronze Diagnosis Complete

  • May 2023

    Visitor Information Centre Bronze GreenStep Certification

  • Aug 2023

    Visitor Information Centre Action Plan Implementation

  • Aug 2023

    Destination Silver Diagnosis Complete

  • Sep 2023

    Destination Action Plan Implementation

  • Feb 2024

    Silver GreenStep Destination Certification

What is sustainable tourism?

Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.

– United Nations World Tourism Organization


Our work so far

In 2022, Tourism Kingston engaged GreenStep Solutions to undertake a sustainable tourism assessment and develop an action plan for the organization and destination. This action plan will:

  • integrate sustainability into our destination management strategy,
  • establish a sustainability baseline,
  • engage stakeholders to identify gaps,
  • and set goals to improve the sustainability performance of the destination.

The Visitor Information Centre operated by Tourism Kingston has already received Bronze certification by GreenStep, reflecting its current activities and priorities, which include:

  • staff training on sustainable practices,
  • promotion to visitors of local outdoor activities, natural areas, and sustainable transportation options,
  • supporting local makers and artists,
  • on-site waste diversion and recycling.  

Next steps

Tourism Kingston has committed to:

  • incorporate further GreenStep certification into project planning
  • align with the sustainability goals of the City of Kingston
  • incorporate sustainability into all business sectors

Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge

Tourism Kingston has signed the Sustainable Tourism 2030 Pledge to demonstrate our commitment to improving our sustainability score between now and 2030.


Goals within Tourism Kingston’s business sectors

Business Events

  • Enhance sustainable travel partnerships with VIA Rail
  • Create new sustainable offerings for group events
  • Expand digital venue catalogue using Threshold 360
  • Champion a LEED-certified new building for downtown, pedestrian-friendly conference centre

Travel Trade

  • Offer sustainable (reusable or digital) trade show takeaways ​
  • Provide eco-friendly packages for group travel ​

Sport and Wellness

  • Support new sustainable itineraries for sport events
  • Support community activities like Kingston Waters Cleanup
  • Create new wellness experiences and itineraries
  • Donate unused sport event food products to local charities such as Martha’s Table
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Visitor Services

  • Implement a water station for refillable bottles at the Visitor Information Centre
  • Provide digital visitor information options
  • Promote outdoor activities like local bike tours, local makers, and sustainable businesses and resources to visitors, residents, and frontline tourism staff in the community
  • Promote Hop on, Hop off trolley tours seasonally for visitors to conveniently access attractions
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Film and Media

  • Explore and promote local sustainable options for productions in partnership with Ontario Green Screen, establishing Kingston as an environmentally friendly production partner
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  • Support music events at pedestrian-friendly and net-zero public spaces like The Broom Factory

Marketing and Communications

  • Create new tourism products including self-guided walking tours and supports for cyclists
  • Highlight stories about sustainable local businesses such as refilleries, thrift stores, and low-waste restaurants
  • Showcase local initiatives like Open Farms Days and Kingston Waters Cleanup
  • Promote Kingston resources and services, including electric buses, bike rentals, conservation areas, farm-to-table culinary offerings, and a pedestrian-friendly downtown.
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  • Create new overnight visitor packages that include support of/connection with local community organizations, such as a pet-friendly package that combines a donation to an animal rescue organization with a stay at a pet-friendly accommodation.
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Kingston Accommodation Partners

  • Waste sorting and diversion programs as well as recycling systems
  • Reduced turndown or housekeeping services (stay-over rooms cleaned upon request only)
  • Energy-efficient lighting and temperature systems
  • Eliminating single-use plastics
  • Donating to the local community (leftover food, bar soap, etc)