How can we help you? Here you will find commonly asked questions and their answers. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please ask your question using the contact page.
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 join the GDS-Movement as an individual or organization and it’s completely free! Click here to fill out the form and discover more about the benefits of joining the Movement.

4. What are the benefits of joining the GDS-Movement?

These are the benefits we offer to people and organisations within our movement.

  1. Recognition on our platforms. With your permission, we may publish and promote your best practices and initiatives through our website, reports, social media and presentations
  2. Free participation in Monthly “Feeling the Pulse Sessions”, Industry Hackathons and Challenges.
  3. Free access to news, shared knowledge, best practices, and updates
  4. Networking with professionals and stakeholders from different destinations around the world.
  5. Being part of a Global Destination Movement that is transforming our Industry.
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. 

3. Privacy, terms and conditions

Please find here our Privacy Policy

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.

Click here to read the full methodology.

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.
4. Are there any modifications due to Covid-19 for the 2020 benchmark?

Yes. In 2020, due to COVID-19, the benchmarking results won’t be public. This offers 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 Benchmark
Participation in Annual GDS-Index Benchmarking and Awards
Basic Benchmarking against other Destinations
Profile page on website
Right to use GDS-Index logo on DMO website and other communication materials
Detailed benchmarking report with performance improvement recommendations and online debriefing call
Access to advanced benchmarking tools on the GDS-Index online platform
Performance consulting: Coaching calls, strategy review & development, marketing analysis, training, public speaking or reporting support 6 Hours 26 Hours
Marketing package: Destination spotlight article, Boosted social media and press exposure via IMEX, ICCA, and our media partnerships
Workshop: Development and facilitation of workshop for DMO Team, or Destination Taskforce
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?

This year, due to Covid-19, we have decided to slightly shift the GDS-Index timeline. The GDS-Index Portal (OMNIwill be open from June 17th till October 17th. Usually, the results are announced during the ICCA Congress in November, but this year we have decided not to make the benchmark publicly available. The Awards timeline is still under review.  

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. Until when will the portal be open for the 2020 benchmark?

The portal will be open until October 17, 2020.

3. 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. 

4. 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). 

5. 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.  

6. 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. 

Product 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 see our courses. 

2. How can I participate?

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

1. How do the certification process and collaboration with EarthCheck work?

With the partnership with EarthCheck, the GDS-Movement shares destinations’ data, processes and knowledge so that the evolution to certification is faster, easier and more cost-effective. This means that destinations don’t need to enter the same information in a new system, as we will already share it with EarthCheckFrom here, EarthCheck will focus on preparing the city for compliance and audit. This requires expanding the destination authorities measurement approach, increased benchmarking of social and environmental impacts, and enhancing the destination sustainability strategy. 

2. What are the advantages of being certified?

A sustainable certification legitimizes the sustainability strategy of an organisation, providing security for the client on issues such as responsible supply chain management, compliance and general accountability regarding environmental and social risks. Certification is not only beneficial because it drives improvement in sustainability performance, but increasingly it represents a requirement for clients who demand it as a means of countering risk in their own supply chain. 

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

Please find here the guidelines for the GDSM logos. 

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

Please reach out to our Changemaker Vittoria Lapomarda if you want to submit an article for 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. 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. 

2. How can I become a media partner?

If you are interested in becoming a media partner, please contact our Changemaker Noah Joubert.

3. 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