en
GLOBAL DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEX
2021
Summary
Trends
Ranking and results
Executive Summary

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: city’s environmental strategy and infrastructure; city’s social sustainability performance; industry supplier support; and the destination management organisation’s strategy and initiatives.

In 2021, Gothenburg came top of the list of cities 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.


 

Overall
Environment
Society
Supplier
Destination Management

1. Gothenburg

88.95%

2. Copenhagen

85.08%

3. Aarhus

82.47%

4. Glasgow

82.35%

5. Reykjavik

80.32%

6. Tirol

80.21%

1. Tirol

95.24%

2. Helsinki

92.06%

3. Aarhus

90.48%

4. Aalborg

89.68%

5. Reykjavik

87.30%

6. Gent

86.51%

1. Gothenburg

95.00%

2. Aalborg

92.50%

2. Aarhus

92.50%

2. Brussels

92.50%

3. Copenhagen

90.00%

3. Flanders

90.00%

3. Melbourne

90.00%

3. Tirol

90.00%

3. Umeå

90.00%

 

1. Glasgow

85.00%

1. Gothenburg

85.00%

1. Umeå

85.00%

2. Copenhagen

80.00%

2. Stockholm

80.00%

3. Aalborg

76.25%

1. Gothenburg

94.48%

2. Bordeaux

89.66%

3. Copenhagen

88.97%

4. Lyon

84.83%

5. Zurich

82.76%

6. Tirol

81.38%

Trends
Ranking and Results

Please use the filters below, to rank destinations using different metrics. This will also allow you to see which scores destinations received in different categories (if you filter by category).
To view more detailed reports on each individual destination, you can click on the destination of your choice.

Can’t find the destination you are looking for? Try out our search and compare page.

City size
Any size
Any size
Small city
Medium city
Large city
Metropolis
Megacity
Category
Any category
Any category
DMO
Environmental
Social
Supplier
Region
Any region
Any region
Western Europe
North America
Nordic
Eastern Europe
Asia Pacific
Sort by % Improvement
Filter
Clear filter