A team of international experts will evaluate Saint Petersburg according to the standards of the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). In order to improve environmental and social performance of the city, Saint Petersburg Convention Bureau (SPbCB) has developed a Sustainable Development Strategy 2035.

In 2018, Petersburg became the first Russian city to join the GDS-Index, a destination level programme that measures, benchmarks and improves the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings, events and business tourism destinations

Each year, members of the programme receive an assessment of the work done to improve sustainability performance. The GDS-Index uses 70 indicators that evaluate the destinations across four key areas: “Environmental Performance”, “Social Progress Performance”, “Supplier Performance” and “Destination Management Performance”.  In 2018, Saint Petersburg met the GDS-Index criteria by 47%, but the participants of the event industry believe that it is not the limit.

To strengthen the position of the city in the international tourism arena, experts from the Convention Bureau have developed a sustainable development strategy for Saint Petersburg. The corresponding document is published on the official website of the organization.

The Bureau conducted a study with representatives in the tourism industry, who have rethought the global sustainability trends by taking into account cultural and economic characteristics of the city as well as the basis of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The document defines the Bureau’s strategic short-term and long-term objectives. Particular attention is paid to the environmental agenda, namely: the development of an effective incentives system for the environmental certification schemes in the hospitality and event industry.

Additionally, special attention will be paid to the problems of sustainable development, questions of how to differentiate tourist routes and overcome stereotypes about Saint Petersburg.

The main role in implementing the new Strategy will be given to the instruments that have already proven their effectiveness – for example, the «Ambassador program» aimed at promoting the city as a business event destination with the support of the CB.

The results of GDS- Index 2019 will be announced at the 58th ICCA Congress on October 31st, 2019 in Houston, US.