The fast-track for certification
By collaborating with EarthCheck, the GDSM can now streamline the process of third party certification for destinations.

The GDS-Certification is applicable for urban destinations that are starting their sustainability journey, and for those who, as market leaders, want to push the boundaries of their sustainability performance.

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.

Our Joint Venture

EarthCheck and the GDS-Index are different but complementary. At its core, the GDS-Index is a benchmarking and performance improvement programme, whereas EarthCheck focuses on in-depth measurement and third-party verification.

Achieving certification is a demanding task, and often the most difficult aspect is to start. The GDS-Index accelerates and fast-tracks the process by getting destinations started on the journey through small, achievable steps. The first step is benchmarking key aspects of a city’s sustainability performance, its tourism supply chain, and its DMO. The GDS-Index team provides 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 its supply and value chain capacity. After the third year, many destinations are ready to go to the next level and start the certification journey.

Typically, this means destination professionals have to start again with benchmarking, entering the same information into new systems, remeasuring the same KPIs, etc. Through the partnership with EarthCheck, the GDS-Index shares data, processes and knowledge so that the evolution to certification is faster, easier, and more cost-effective.

From this point, EarthCheck focuses on preparing the city for compliance and auditing. This requires expanding the destination authority’s measurement approach, increased benchmarking of social and environmental impacts, and enhancing the destination sustainability strategy.

About EarthCheck

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 enable 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.

Find out more at EarthCheck.org and consult the EarthCheck Destination Standard.