The GDS-Forum convenes destination leaders and sustainability champions from around the world. This is a dynamic, fun and unconventional gathering to discuss sustainability and impact strategies and best practices, learn from GDS-Index journeys, and co-create new approaches and initiatives for greater regenerative destination management. 

The 2023 GDS-Forum/CityDNA Autumn Conference took place on 3-7 October 2024 in Valencia, Spain.

From 3-7 October, destination professionals enjoyed an extraordinary event week as City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA), the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement), and Visit València partnered to bring two incredible back-to-back events and to jointly  celebrate the prestigious annual GDS-Awards.

The CityDNA Autumn Conference provided destination professionals with a unique occasion to meet and network with colleagues from Europe and beyond while sharing knowledge and insights on the latest tourism trends and challenges.

The GDS-Forum convened destination leaders and sustainability champions from around the world in a dynamic and unconventional gathering to discuss sustainability and impact strategies and best practices, learn from GDS-Index journeys, and co-create new approaches and initiatives for greater regenerative destination management. It followed a novel, non-conference format with a focus on peer-to-peer learning, collaboration, and creativity.

The GDS-Awards Ceremony brought both communities together in an entertaining and inspiring evening celebration to recognize the winners of the 8th GDS-Index Awards. The larger platform enabled greater reach and recognition for destinations whose sustainability contributions exceeded pre-pandemic levels in a global industry with a growing responsibility to “be the change we need to see in the world.”

Valencia, the city of arts and sciences, was a superb host for the inaugural GDS-Forum event. It is dedicated to sustainable tourism, has best practices in reporting, is the very first participating city to calculate and certify its tourism carbon footprint, and is a long-term member of GDS-Index committed to continuous improvement. It was also the proud recipient of the 2024 European Green Capital Award.

Have a look at the 2023 GDS-Forum report

You will find the top 10 ideas from the conference, videos, sustainability in numbers, testimonials and much more!


Report – GDS-Forum 2023 (LIVE) by GDS Movement

Our Sustainability Approach

The GDS-Movement and CityDNA are committed to regenerative tourism, and help destinations to strategise, scale positive impacts, and prioritise events with a positive social, environmental, and economic legacy.

The emissions from the local event production, delegate and team travel, accommodation, food and beverage, and multiple venues were measured. Where data was not available, impact data was estimated using the GDS-Movement database of sustainable events.

We used the TRACE platform to assess and track our CO2 emissions.

Offsetting Approach

In 2023, 89% of an event’s emissions came from delegate travel to and from the host destination. The remaining 11% of emissions came from food and beverage, waste, event production, electricity, and local transportation.

In a world still transitioning to clean energy, some emissions are unavoidable, and we address these with high-quality carbon offsets in the form of carbon credits.

For more please read the event report above.

Attendee nationalties
Tonnes CO2e
Served vegan and vegetarian food

GDS-Forum: the “Un-Conference”​

GDS-Forum is a tourism conference designed with a difference, using an emergent and inclusive “un-conference” model. There are neither keynote speakers nor PowerPoint presentations. We defined four design principles. 

See the 2023 programme here

Bridging Sectors for Impact: Foro- GDS (Spanish)

Monday, 2 October 2023

Bridge the gap between the Spanish tourism and events sector and its social impact with us.
– Inspirational talks
– Debates
– Networking

Event in Spanish

Venue: CaxiaForum

GDS-Forum: Systemic Challenges
and Opportunities

Tuesday morning, 3 October 2023

Delve deeply into the systemic challenges facing urban tourism and events destinations.

Investigate and embrace the exponential change happening around us.

Venue: Parador de El Saler

Group transfer from Hotel Primus Valencia to Parador de El Saler

GDS-Forum: Building Blocks
for Success

Tuesday afternoon, 3 October 2023

Envision the transformation that needs to happen to tourism and events to become more resilient and regenerative.

Discuss and share success stories of the strategic “building blocks” that can accelerate the regeneration of our destinations.

Venue: Parador de El Saler
Group transfer from Parador de El Saler to Hotel Primus Valenica

GDS-Forum: Inspiring Innovation & Collaboration

Wednesday morning, 4 October 2023

Brainstorm, investigate, and define how we scale impact together

Co-create a new regenerative tourism framework that can help us to accelerate action

Venue: Hotel Primus Valencia


Wednesday evening, 4 October 2023

Recognise and celebrate the efforts of GDS-Index destinations and changemakers

– Leadership Award
– Most Improved Award
– Innovation Award
– The GDS-Movement and #MEET4IMPACT Impact Award

In partnership with ICCA

Venue: Oceanogràfic de València

CityDNA Autumn Conference: Destination Positive

Thursday-Friday, 5-7 October 2023

What can cities, communities, DMOs, and others do to enable transformation towards regenerative tourism, meetings, and events?

Venue: Hotel Primus Valencia

Join Forces: ​Partner with us for a Regenerative Future​

Be part of shared success, collective learning, and positive change within the industry​

Co-create Legacy

Your support is a powerful catalyst to co-creating a meaningful legacy for GDS-Forum and the events industry. Develop innovation with lasting impact on communities while regenerating the natural environment with us.

GDS-Forum Partners

Catalyst Partners

Strategic Partners

Media Partners