Welcome to our FAQ page, with answers to common questions about the GDS-Movement, GDS-Index, and our other services. If you can’t find the answers you need here, please reach out to our team for assistance. 

1. What are the benefits of joining the GDS-Index?

The key benefits of joining the leading sustainable destination benchmarking and performance improvement programme include: 

  1. Benchmarking to drive better decision-making 
  2. Gaining tailored, expert advice to improve your sustainability and business strategy 
  3. Catalysinge collaboration and innovation within a destination 
  4. Offering your clients a trusted, third-party endorsement 
  5. Promoting your destination’s sustainability story 
  6. Saving resources and time – we know what is necessary to become a more regenerative destination 

2. What is your methodology?

Unlike other standards and rankings, the GDS-Index was originally created specifically for the events and meetings industry, and is the only tool of its type in the world. Since 2020 we integrated leisure tourism into the criteria, making it relevant for all business and leisure tourism destinations. 

The criteria are reviewed and enhanced annually, and a draft is developed by the GDS-Movement team following consultation and input from key destinations. These draft criteria undergo an in-depth revision from the GDS-Index Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), which includes destination sustainability experts from NGOs, DMOs, and cities around the world. 

You can access our full methodology here

3. What are the GDS-Awards?

Each year, when the GDS-Index results are announced, we celebrate the efforts of  destinations at the annual GDS-Forum with these awards: 

  1. The Leadership Awardthe destination scoring the highest on the year’s GDS-Index, demonstrating its continual commitment, inspired vision, prompt action, and measurable impacts. 
  2. The Innovation Award – for a destination using innovative solutions to drive sustainability performance.  
  3. The Most Improved Destination Award – for the destination that has demonstrated the highest level of overall improvement from the previous year. This is independent of its ranking. 
  4. The Impact Award – for a destination management organisation committed to legacy and impact through business events. It is a collaborative initiative developed by GDS-Movement and #MEET4IMPACT. 

These awards are collectively referred to as the Global Destination Sustainability Awards or GDS-Awards. Find out more here!

1. Who can participate?

The GDS-Index serves destinations at the national, regional, and local (city) level. This means that it works with national and regional tourism bureaux, local convention bureaux, and local councils. In short, we work with any destination management organisation, including city councils. Talk to us today!

2. How can my destination participate?

If you are interested in benchmarking your destination with GDS-Index, please contact us. If you have questions that have to be answered before your destination can commit to joining, we will be happy to arrange a call with you. 



1. How does the benchmarking process work?
  1. Data Collection: You identify who to contact for data and delegate to them, with our support. 
  2. Submit Data: Using our online data and analytics portal Omni, you upload your data alongside supporting documents. 
  3. Benchmark: Our team evaluates the answers, making sure your contact understood them all correctly, and then releases your score. 
  4. Results: The results usually go live during the annual GDS-Forum in the northern hemisphere autumn (fall). 
  5. Assessment Report: Our team creates an in-depth analysis of your performance, and presents this to you alongside tailored recommendations for the next steps. 
  6. Time for Action: To make your destination more sustainable, it is now over to you to implement our recommendations. If you are unsure of where to start, you may be interested in getting more support from us. 

2. What is the GDS-Index timeline?

In 2024 the GDS-Index Portal (Omni) will be open from 25 March – 26 May. You can also find the full timeline at the bottom of this page.

3. What can I share publicly?

You are free to share your score and anything related to your GDS-Index performance. For example, through the analytic tools in Omni, you can create graphs to share with your stakeholders. If you are unsure of what stories to tell from your data, consider our dedicated, in-house Masterclass, or reach out to us for bespoke support through GDS-Consulting for Communications. 

Portal (Omni)
1. It’s the first time that I am using the portal. Where can I find tutorial videos?

You can find all the tutorial videos on our YouTube channel, on the Omni playlist. There is also an FAQ section in Omni. 


2. Can I access the data submitted in previous years?

Yes, you can. How you can access it will vary, as different tools have been used for benchmarking in recent years. From 2020 onwards, you can download the results directly from OMNI. For years occurring prior to 2020, please contact us and we will send you your results. 

3. How long does it usually take to submit a benchmarking assessment?

It usually takes about 25 – 40 hours initially, and 15 – 20 hours subsequently. This includes corrections to your submissions during the review process. The first time you submit a benchmarking application, it typically takes 1 – 2 months to gather the data. This is mainly due to the delays in accessing and retrieving data from the local council and suppliers.  

Top Tip: start gathering data as early as possible, so that you can account for time-lags in local council and supplier responses (e.g. hotels and PCOs, holidays).

4. Can I submit documents in languages other than English?

Yes, you can submit documents in languages other than English, as long as they are in a text-searchable PDF format and you indicate the parts/pages relevant to the criterion you are answering. 

5. Can I grant access and assign criteria to other users?

Yes, you can create sub-users and delegate criteria to them. This is particularly useful when looking for data from outside of your organisation, as you can create sub-users for those working, for example, in your local council. 

Have a look here


Contact us