June 18th 2020. The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), announces growth, launches the 2020 criteria, and opens the benchmarking period for business tourism and events cities.
The GDS-Index is the world’s leading benchmarking and performance improvement program for business tourism and events destinations. Its purpose is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more regenerative, flourishing and resilient places to visit, meet and thrive in.
The new 2020 criteria incorporate 69 qualitative and quantitative parameters to map, measure and benchmark sustainability across four key pillars: the city’s environmental strategy and infrastructure; the city’s social sustainability performance; industry supplier performance; and the destination management organisation’s strategy and performance.
This is the fourth release of the GDS-Index and includes updates to improve its focus on leisure tourism, climate change, resilience, health, crisis management, circular economy, measurement, impact and strategy development. The 2020 criteria continues its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and draws on guidance from the new Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination (GSTC-D v2.0) Criteria, the UNWTO and European Cities Marketing Recovery Guidelines. The criteria was updated after a consultation period with participating destinations, and an in-depth review by the GDS-Index Technical Advisory Committee, who are a team of destination sustainability experts from NGOs, DMOs and cities around the world.
Collaboration for Change and Recovery
Guy Bigwood, Co-founder and Managing Director for the GDS-Index, commented:
“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is demonstrating the need to rethink, redesign and rebuild a more resilient, sustainable, inclusive and socially impactful tourism and events industry. With the new criteria, tools, consulting services and enhanced knowledge sharing, the GDS-Index is building a movement to support destinations to better integrate sustainability and the SDGs into their recovery strategies, accelerate innovation and drive social, economic and environmental regeneration of local communities.”
Growth in the face of adversity
Since launch in 2015, the GDS-Index has grown to become a major point of reference for the MICE industry, and with the new 2020 developments the benchmarking and performance improvement programme now offers more relevance and value to destinations, regions and countries with a holistic focus on developing a sustainable visitors economy.
Despite the severe impact of the COVID crisis on destinations, the GDS-Index is observing an increase in attention to sustainability and regeneration from cities and citizens around the world. In 2020, the movement has grown to 60 destinations and welcomes various new large and smaller cities and regions, including Montréal, Vienna, Toulouse, Vorarlberg, Daejeon, the Island of Fyn in Denmark, Limerick and County Clare in Ireland.
Noah Joubert, Head of Communications, GDS-Index
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