Inspiration Hub



As we begin receiving applications for this year’s Innovation Award, we wanted to pay tribute to past winners of the award.

As we begin receiving applications for this year’s Innovation Award, we wanted to pay tribute to past winners of the award. Let’s get inspired as we take a trip down memory lane.

Last year, Copenhagen took home the Innovation Award for their bold and game changing strategy “Tourism for Good”. It received the most votes from the judging panel of industry experts, thanks to the ambition of this strategy to:  “make tourism part of the solutions for a sustainable future, not a part of the problem. Tourism is not a goal in itself; it is a means to a sustainable end”.

This strategy used the UN Sustainable Development Goals both as a framework, and as a measurement tool. In short, Tourism for Good set a clear direction for the next 3-years of developments, included all relevant stakeholders in the city, and contributed significantly to its sustainability journey. As part of this journey, Copenhagen has released the 10X Copenhagen Report, which compiled years of research on the city’s tourism and events industry, and beautifully presented this data in a website accessible to all.

In the previous year (2017) we remember Gothenburg, our star and #1 destination for 3-years in a row, as they took home the awards for both Leadership and Innovation. They managed to impress the GDS-Index experts with their enormous efforts and high scores, as well as the judging panel with their “Got Event” app. The app was the first of its kind, as it addressed the accessibility of events and venues with the goal of enhancing the events experience for those with accessibility challenges. Among other things it offered live visual interpretation during events, sign language interpretation of speeches, amplified arena sounds, clear directions to get to and navigate the arena, and how to get assistance on-site.

Now, going back to our inception, the first Innovation Award was received by Helsinki. For their Greening Events Project they were celebrated during the Closing Ceremony at ICCA 2016. The project is a joint venture between the neighbouring cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, and aimed to develop concrete ways of implementing environmental management at events in the capital area of Finland. By creating new tools, networks, and operating models for achieving its targets, this project inspired us and won global recognition in the process.

With these three ingenious projects, we, at the GDS-index, are impatiently waiting to be impressed anew. We hope that the bar will be set higher than ever, as actions for sustainability are more urgent, and necessary, than ever. As we look forward to receiving applications from our member destinations this year, we wonder… …Will you be our next Innovator?

For instructions on how to apply, have a look at the slides down here and you can download it here.

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