This year has been declared International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) and 2017 was indeed a good year for the GDS-Index. We have witnessed improvements from most of the participating destinations and some destinations have truly exceeded expectations especially when it came to CVB performance. From last year, the GDS-Index had a 6% improvement in overall scores. Advancing a crucial part of sustainable tourism: Meetings & Events.   In order to encourage leading destinations, recognize their effort and inspire others (as well as to celebrate), the award winners were announced at ICCA 2017 Closing Ceremony adding a third award this year going to the Most Improved Destination. We were proud to announce Gothenburg as the second time in a row winner of the Leadership Award as well as winning this year’s Innovation Award for their brilliant project addressing accessibility, making it easier for people living with disabilities to better experience events.   On the other hand, our rising star destination this year is Glasgow, winning the Most Improved Award for the tremendous effort of their CVB that has led them not to just improve but to be the Category Leader of the CVB Performance. Achieving the highest score in that category among our destinations. The efforts have successfully put them among our top 5 destinations, and has more importantly attracted many big sustainability events in their cities resulting in GBP 24 million economic benefit.   This year has showed us the true impact of the GDS-Index with promising statistics. Destinations with a sustainability strategy for the MICE sector increased by 25%, average CVB sustainability performance rose by 11%, with destinations such as OsloAarhus and Malmö increasing their overall performance by more than 20%. The number of certified CVB/DMO have seen an 8% increase well.  As for general performance, although we have witnessed a 6% overall performance, we have noticed that those on the Assess or Consult levels have performed around 15% better than those in the benchmarking level and have done about 40% better in CVB Performance. These figures and statistics after a year in operation prove to be very promising to the GDS-Index’s future and how it induces real and effective change and increases sustainability performance in destinations.

Looking onwards to the upcoming years, we’re happy to announce that 5 new destinations have joined the GDS-Index family: BrusslesDublinGoyang, Lausanne-Montreux and ICCA host city Prague. These destinations have participated in this year benchmarking round, with the exception of Lausanne-Montreux and Prague due to time constraints. With all that has been achieved this year and with these destination joining us, the future is definitely looking bright. Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world” and with this in mind, we cannot wait to see what 2018 will have in store for us and destinations. For the rankings of this year, click here