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The tourism industry has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth, with over 969 million tourists contributing 7.6% towards global GDP in 2022 (Statista, 2023). However, despite its success, Casagrandi and Rinaldi (2002) argue that it is at the environment’s expense. The exponential growth of the tourism industry has continually exploited the Earth’s natural resources, resulting in environmental degradation and a rise in CO2 emissions (Borysova et al, 2022). Despite the United Nations (UN) calling for the more sustainable development of all sectors through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UN, 2015), the continual disregard for the environment suggests that the current linear economic system, is outdated (Zhong et al, 2011), with interest peaked towards a circular economic system which promotes resource minimisation (Andersen, 2007).

In Northern Ireland (NI), tourism spend exceeded £1 billion in 2019 (Tourism Northern Ireland, 2022). However, despite this economic growth challenges to environmental and societal wellbeing, such as pollution, climate change (DAERA, 2019) and low spending on transport remain (Torrance, 2022). To combat this, the NI Department for the Economy published a report – “The Circularity Gap” – highlighting a significant circularity gap within NI. Only 7.9% of the NI economy is currently deemed circular, with the report showcasing the tourism sector as one of the most offending culprits of linearity (DfE, 2022). However, the report remains vague on how to improve circularity. Therein lies the aim of this PhD research - to develop a policy framework for a circular economy within the Northern Ireland tourism industry; and thus, contribute to the development of circular economy research within tourism literature.

This poster provides an overview of literature surrounding the circular economy and the tourism industry, the research aim and objectives and identifies a suitable methodology which ultimately leads to the development of a tourism circularity conceptual framework which will be applicable to other destinations comparable to NI.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 9 May 2024
EventFestival of PhD research - Ulster University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 May 202410 May 2024


ConferenceFestival of PhD research
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Circular Economy
  • Tourism
  • Co-Design


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