How can we help you? Here you will find commonly asked questions and their answers. If you cannot find what you are looking for below, please contact us.
1. What is the Global Destination Sustainability Movement?

The Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDSM) brings together the sustainability pioneers of the business and leisure tourism world, and works with destinations to co-create their tourism and events strategies, benchmark and improve their sustainability performance, and transforms value chains in order to catalyse regeneration. If you work in the destination management space, and have an interest in sustainability and regeneration, the GDSM is for you. 

2. What is the difference between the GDS-Movement and the GDS-Index?

The GDS-Index is a benchmark that ranks global destinations based on their sustainability performance in the tourism and events industry. The GDS-Movement is the organisation under which all our services are grouped, including the GDS-Index. 

3. How do I get involved in the GDSM?

You can get involved in the GDS-Movement by participating in the GDS-Index or the GDS-Academy, and by employing our consulting services.

1. How do I sign up for the newsletter?

Click here to subscribe to the GDS-Movement Newsletter.

2. Do you have any job openings?

We usually post job opening on our LinkedIn profile. If you are interested in working with us, but we do not currently have a vacancy, don’t hesitate to send us your CV. 

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

Key benefits of joining the leading sustainable destination benchmarking and performance improvement program include:

  1. Benchmark to drive better decision making
  2. Gain expert advice to improve your sustainability and business strategy
  3. Catalyse collaboration and innovation within a destination
  4. Offer clients a trusted third party endorsement
  5. Promote your destination’s sustainability story
  6. Save money and time – we know what is necessary to become a regenerative destination
2. What is your methodology?

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

The criteria are annually reviewed 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, which is composed of destination sustainability experts from NGOs, DMOs and cities around the world.

You can access our full methodology at the bottom of the GDS-Index page.

3. What are the GDS-Index Awards?

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

  • Leadership Awards – for the top performer amongst participating destinations
  • Innovation Award – Candidates will be requested to submit an application describing why and how their destination’s sustainability initiatives stand out from the crowd.
  • Most Improved Award – For the destination that has demonstrated the highest level of overall improvement from the previous year.
  • The 3 awards are collectively referred to as the Global Destination Sustainability Awards or GDS-Awards.
  • Find out more
4. Were there any modifications due to Covid-19 for the 2020 benchmark?

Yes. In 2020, due to COVID-19, the benchmarking results were not made public, and instead served DMOs as a year for internal reflection, and offered a unique opportunity for new destinations to test the waters before the public 2021 benchmark.

1. Who can participate?

We work with destinations on the national, regional, and local level. This means that we work with national and regional tourism bureaus, local convention bureaux and local councils. In the short, we work with any destination management organisation, including city councils.

2. How can my destination participate?

If you are interested in getting your destination to join, please send get in touch. If there are big questions that have to be cleared before you can make the decision to join, we will be happy to arrange a call with you.

3. How much does it cost?

Participation fees differ, depending on how you would like to participate. Aside of the options described below, we also offer consulting packages, which can help destinations with any element of their sustainability journey, be that the creation of a sustainability strategy or policy, training workshops for your team and stakeholders, or drafting a communications strategy for sustainability.

Deliverables Standard
Basic Benchmarking against other Destinations via OMNI – the GDS-Index portal
Performance Improvement Report and Presentation: With trends and SWOT analysis, recommendations and best practices suggestions delivered via an online call
Profile page on www.gds.earth. Right to use GDS-Index logo on DMO website and other communication materials
Education: Participation in online “Feel the Pulse” education sessions with other DMOs
Communications: Destination spotlight article or press release
Benchmarking Submission Support: Online session to teach, support and coach client team on how to improve GDS-Index submission. 2 Hours 2 Hours
Performance consulting: Coaching calls to be used for strategy review & development, marketing analysis, training, public speaking or reporting support 4 Hours 28 Hours
Analysis tools on OMNI – the GDS-Index portal Basic Advanced
1. How does the benchmarking process work?

In brief, the benchmarking process works as follows:

  1. Data Collection: You identify who to contact for data and delegate, 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 your answers, makes sure you understood them all correctly, and then gives you your score.
  4. Results: The results usually go live during the annual ICCA conference in autumn.
  5. Assessment Report: Our team creates an in-depth analysis of your performance, and presents this to you alongside recommendations for next steps.
  6. Jump to Action: In order to make your destination more sustainable, it is now over to you to implement our recommendations. If you are unsure of how to start, you may be interested in getting more support from us.
2. What is the GDS-Index timeline?

In 2021 the GDS-Index Portal (OMNIwill be open from June 1st until August 13th. The results and awards are announced during the closing ceremony of the ICCA Congress.

3. What can I share publicly?

You are free to publicly 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. 

Portal (OMNI)
1. It’s the first time that I use the portal, where can I find tutorial videos? 

You can find all the tutorial video on our YouTube channel, ioour OMNI playlist. There is also an FAQ section in OMNI itself

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

Yes, you can. How you can access it will vary, as different tools were used for the benchmark over the course of the past years. From 2020 onwards you can download the results directly from OMNI. For previous years, please contact us and we will forward you your results. 

3. How long does it usually take to submit all the data?

It usually takes about 25-40 hours the first time and 15-20 hours the second. The first year, it normally takes 1-2 months to get the data. The main reason it can take over a month to collect all data, is due to the data from the local council and suppliers. 

Top Tip: start collecting as early as possible, so that you can account for time-lags and potential holidays of the local council and suppliers (e.g. hotels and PCOs). 

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-readable PDF format and you and indicate the parts/pages relevant for the answer.  

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 e.g.in your local council. 

Products and Services
1. What are the consulting services you offer?

Our consulting service can be broken down into 5 categories: 

  • Strategy (development and improvement) 
  • Impact (Measurement and reporting) 
  • Communication (Let the world know about your commitment) 
  • Social innovation (For regeneration) 
  • Research (Investigating the new normal) 

For more info, visit our GDS-Consult page.

2. Which organisations do you work with?

The main destination we’ve been working with so far are IMEX, ICCA, Failte Ireland, Tourisme Montreal, Goteborg and Wonderful CopenhagenEvent organisers, national tourism organisations, local councils, and associations, are all past clients of ours. If you fall into any of those categories and require our expertise in driving sustainability and regenerative practices in destinations, get in touch. 

1. What is the GDS-Forum?

The GDS-Forum is the global event that convenes and unites destination management professionals to catalyse innovation for regeneration. 

2. How can I participate?

If you want to participate or join as sponsor or speaker, please contact us. 

3. When and where is the next GDS-Forum taking place?

This unique event is currently in the planning and is being co-designed for, and by destinations, partners, changemakers and innovators in the business tourism and destination world. 

1. What is the GDS-Academy?

The GDS-Academy provides leading-edge training for event and tourism professionals to turn concepts into action, and then into impact. Click here to find out more. 

2. How can I participate?

Please contact us if you are interested in participating to the GDS-Academy.

Media & Communication
1. What are the guidelines for using your logos?

You can access this comprehensive guide to see how our logo should be used.

2. How can I submit an article for the GDS-Movement Blog?

Please reach out to our marketing manager, Jess Henson, if you would like to submit an article to the GDSM Blog. 

3. How can I share a GDS-Movement article on my website?

If you would like to share one of our articles on your website, please contact us. 

1. How can I become a media partner?

If you are interested in becoming a media partner, please reach out to our marketing manager, Jess Henson.

2. How do I access the most recent press releases?

You can find our most recent press releases, alongside a comprehensive Media Kit, on our News page. 

Want more info? Contact us