The GDS-Certification is a third-party sustainability certification for business tourism, events and meeting destinations that is powered by EarthCheck science and software, and underpinned by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) destination criteria.
EarthCheck and the GDS-Index are different but complementary. At its core, the GDS-Index is a benchmarking and performance improvement programme, whereas EarthCheck focusses on in-depth measurement and third-party verification.
Achieving certification is a big and demanding challenge, and often the hardest thing is to start. The GDS-Index accelerates and fast-tracks the process by getting destinations started on the journey via achievable small steps. First destinations, benchmark key aspects of their cities sustainability performance, their tourism supply chain, and their DMO. The GDS-Index team provide a detailed report identifying key insights, quick wins and recommendations for short-term improvement. Typically the following year, the destination is supported to co-create a regenerative tourism/events strategy and policy, and to start building the capacity of their supply and value chain. After the third year, many destinations are ready to go to the next level and start the certification journey.
Normally, that means destination professionals have to start again with benchmarking, entering the same information into new systems, remeasure the same KPIs etc. With the partnership with Earthcheck, the GDS-Index share data, processes and knowledge so that the evolution to certification is faster, easier and more cost-effective.
From here, Earthcheck focus on preparing the city for compliance and audit. This requires expanding the destination authorities measurement approach, increased benchmarking of social and environmental impacts, and enhancing the destination sustainability strategy.
EarthCheck is the world’s leading business advisory group specialising in sustainability and destination management for the travel and tourism industry. EarthCheck’s holistic approach to responsible tourism and its world leading science enables destinations and operators to benchmark and certify their performance with confidence and surety.
Through its Total Tourism Management™ platform, EarthCheck works in partnership with clients to help plan for the future and guide the design, construction and operation of smart buildings and the responsible management of tourism destinations.