The GDS-Index is a performance improvement programme to make the business and leisure tourism industry more sustainable. In a collaborative effort it supports destination management organisations and convention bureaux to adopt, promote and recognise responsible and regenerative practices.
We evaluate four key areas that we believe are vital to the sustainability performance of a destination: environmental strategy and infrastructure; social sustainability performance; industry supplier support; and the destination management organisation’s strategy and initiatives.
In 2021, Gothenburg came top of the list of destinations in the GDS-Index for the fifth year. With a score of 88.95 out of a possible 100, Gothenburg received the 2021 GDS-Index Leadership Award.
The results demonstrate that DMOs are in action on sustainability with 24 more destinations participating than did in the previous public benchmark of 2019. Despite this influx of new destinations, the scores have remained consistent with an average of 61.74 in 2019 and 61.69 in 2021.
Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS-Index stated that: “The Covid-19 pandemic and the increasing public and political focus on equality, diversity, and climate change have had a massive positive impact on destinations in 2021. This year in the GDS-Index we see a tidal wave of new sustainable destination strategies and positive action. DMOs are stepping up to better engage and listen to their residents, co-create new visions with their stakeholders, educate both the supply chain and their customers, financially support certification programmes, and measure results. 2021 will be recognised as a tipping-point year, not only for increased action in sustainability, but also as the year when regenerative thinking started to be more widely integrated into destination management and stewardship plans. It’s the year when destination management really took precedence over destination marketing.“