Plymouth’s Rockfish seafood restaurant is committing to a more environmentally friendly future, as the first business to sign up to a new sustainable tourism programme offered by Destination Plymouth and Green Tourism.

The programme gives businesses support to reach their sustainability goals, with the aim of gaining the internationally recognised Green Tourism Standard and supporting Plymouth’s ambition for a more sustainable future as the home of the UK’s first National Marine Park.

Rockfish, owned by award winning restaurateur, fishmonger and food writer Mitch Tonks, is located on the edge of Sutton Harbour and prides itself on serving the highest quality local, sustainable seafood that’s prepared freshly each day.

The Green Tourism programme includes training and support to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, waste and use of plastics, develop sustainable ‘travel to work’ plans, and how to reduce their energy consumption or change to renewable sources.

Mitch Tonks said: “Sustainable practices are no longer optional they are essential and the more we can help each other the better we become as a whole. Everything we do and every change we make needs to align with bigger goals for our future.

“The Green Tourism programme is a great initiative that will really help drive and lock in measures to make positive change happen. I love the local element of this, that as part of local regional partnerships we can support each other to set the standard and be the best that we can be. Since we opened the first Rockfish back in 2010 sustainability has been at the core of our ethos around fish supply and as an ambassador for the MSC in the UK I want us to continue to be at the forefront as new information about supply, packaging, carbon reduction comes in, to be part of a network supporting each other to always look to improve”.

Thanks to funding from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, administered by Destination Plymouth and Plymouth City Council, the first 100 eligible businesses to apply will receive their first year of Green Tourism membership for free, with discounted fees for the following two years.

Rockfish is the first of 12 Plymouth businesses to sign up to the programme so far, with Plum Locations, South West SUP, PL1 Events, The Box, Number One B&B, Bridging the Tamar Visitor and Learning Centre, Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre, Plymouth Bike Hire, Plymouth Gin and Rock Pool Safaris also taking advantage of this opportunity.

In addition to the accreditation programme, there are free webinars and training sessions covering everything from understanding customer expectations to how to create a sustainability policy. There’s also a one-day Green Edge training course, available free to the first 40 businesses to sign up, which will give business owners and employees a better understanding of green tourism and how to reap the benefits.

Chairman of Destination Plymouth, Adrian Vinken CBE said: “We want Britain’s Ocean City to be seen as a national leader in sustainable tourism. This accreditation programme and free training will give local businesses the support and guidance they need to move towards more environmentally friendly ways of working.

“Not only is this important in attracting future customers but also in supporting the city’s wider goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and helping to protect our exceptional natural surroundings, including the new Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.”

Leader of Plymouth City Council, Councillor Nick Kelly, said: “As we develop our plans for the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park, the Green Tourism programme is a really fantastic opportunity for our city businesses to capitalise on the opportunities it will bring by obtaining this free support and guidance, as well as an internationally recognised accreditation that will help them to attract more customers.”

The free Green Tourism programme is available for tourism, hospitality, leisure or culture businesses located within the PL1 to PL11 postcode area, or that are a member of Destination Plymouth. 

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