BENCHMARKING, IMPROVING AND RECOGNISING THE SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY, PERFORMANCE AND REGENERATION OF DESTINATIONS
How do we help to co-create more sustainable destinations?
We conduct a 3rd-party evaluation of destination's Environmental, Social, Supplier and Destination Management performance. This benchmark serves to rank global destinations based on their sustainability performance, allows us to collect best practices, and stimulates healthy competition.
Following the benchmark, destinations receive a detailed analysis of their benchmarking performance. This is supported by specific recommendations to improve their sustainability strategy, policy and initiatives; and contains best practices from other destinations for inspiration.
Aside of receiving recommendations on what to do to improve their sustainability performance, destinations often opt to receive more support on their journey towards regenerative leisure and business tourism. We have worked with national tourism boards, regions, megacities, and small cities.
The process of measuring, assessing, and consulting, is incomplete without effective communication. We play an active role in promoting the best practices and success stories from member destinations. By elevating innovations for regeneration, we are seeking to engage and inspire the tourism and events industry to take action.
Why should a destination join the GDS-Index?
Key benefits of joining the leading sustainable destination benchmarking and performance improvement program include:
Benchmark to drive better decision making.
Gain expert advice to improve strategy.
Catalyse collaboration and innovation within a destination.
Offer clients a trusted third party endorsement.
Promote your destination's sustainability story.
Save money and time - we know what is necessary to become a regenerative destination.
The GDS-Index is a unique example of how collaboration, including the sharing of best practices and expertise, can improve performance of destinations for the benefit of both our clients and local communities. It has provided us with opportunities and inspiration that has helped position Copenhagen as a leader in sustainable practices.
Kit Lykketoft - Director of Convention, Copenhagen
Being involved in the GDS-index has been a great inspiration to Gothenburg. Through the benchmarking and sharing of best practices, we have improved and elaborated our strategy and services towards our clients and community. Sustainability is now part of the Gothenburg DNA.
Annika Hallman - Director, Gothenburg Convention Bureau
Our work with the GDS-Index has helped us to identify areas of excellence in our city and industry, while also identifying opportunities for improvement. It gave us actionable ideas to continue to progress our destination’s sustainability initiatives through our award-winning Sustainable Destination Partnership with the City of Sydney.
Lyn Lewis-Smith - CEO of Business Events Sydney
Washington DC’s sustainability efforts have positioned the city as a leader in the United States. The GDS-index help us to assess our strategy, benchmark our initiatives, and provide input to drive performance. The credibility of the GDS-Index provides us with a respected way to communicate our commitment and achievement to our stakeholders and clients. This allows us to use sustainability as a competitive advantage in our sales efforts.
Melissa A. Riley - Destination DC, Vice President of Conventions
We identified the GDS-Index as the most valuable platform of its kind in the industry. We consider it as a genuine opportunity to promote the sustainability initiatives of our destination. The GDS-index provides real support in setting a strategy and boosting commitments from the meeting industry actors and relevant authorities.
Olivier Mathieu - Lausanne Congress & Meetings Manager
We are aligned with UN SDGS
Our work is aligned with the 2030 Agenda, and we are working to mainstream the integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the management and strategies of destinations globally.
We are an official partner of the UN One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme and on their working group for “Circularity in tourism”.
We work closely with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council to ensure alignment with their sustainability criteria.
The GDS-Index uses 69 indicators that evaluate destinations sustainability performance across four key areas.
Energy and Emissions
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Access to Information
Health and Wellness
Agencies (PCOs & DMCs)
Policy and Certification
Measurement and Reports
Marketing and Comms