A warm welcome to Helsingborg, Sweden, which joins the GDS-Index from February 2022, spearheaded by Helsingborg Convention & Event Bureau.
“We are delighted to have another Swedish destination join the GDS-Movement,” says Guy Bigwood, Chief Changemaker at GDS-Movement. “Sweden is a sustainability leader on the international stage, so it’s no surprise that cities like Gothenburg, Malmö, Stockholm, and Umeå have ranked in the top 20 spots of the GDS-Index over the years. Helsingborg is the seventh Swedish destination to commit to the benchmarking process that assesses the sustainable practices of a destination’s business events and tourism sector against our rigorous criteria.”
“Our sustainability strategy is a major focus,” says Helena Wennerström, Sales and Marketing Manager at Helsingborgs Stad. “We want to create something that we can be proud of for a long time and that we do together with the tourism industry. Membership of the GDS-Index is an important part of this work.”
Helsingborg city’s sustainability efforts have already earned it a place amongst finalists in the European Commission’s European Green Capital 2023 competition.
The destination’s innovative circularity project heralds a brand-new area. Its “Three Pipes Sewer System” recycles discarded food, grey water (from bathing and washing), and black water (from the toilet) to extract the reusable nitrogen, phosphorous, and purified water within it.
The H22 City Expo event explores the city’s key areas, from the smart city centre to the ideas-driven innovation district of Drottninghög and the nature-rich Slottshagen Park area. The event offers a diverse programme featuring regenerative topics like sustainable painting, converting gravel land to green space, climate-smart concrete, and an interactive innovation exhibition.
The city further encourages regeneration through its open-nomination City of Helsingborg Environmental Award to encourage stakeholders to meet the climate and environmental challenges together.
Helsingborg’s tourism and events stakeholders include the City of Helsingborg, Helsingborgs Cityförening (the Helsingborg City Association representing retailers, restaurant and café owners, banks, hotels, and more) and its hospitality sector.
Helsingborg’s commitment to having its sustainability performance measured by the GDS-Movement through the GDS-Index is a way for it to network more integrally, reach more of its goals and put its Helsingborg 2035 vision into sharp-focused action. That vision is to become a pulsating centre for people and companies, a creative, regenerative location that welcomes all and attracts business both local and international by offering the best possible conditions.
Malin Hollgren, Project Manager at the Convention Bureau, is confident that its entire hospitality industry stands to benefit from the benchmarking process and that the destination’s national and international marketing and storytelling will further flourish through it.
Malin is especially looking forward to the acute boost that benchmarking can offer its tourism, events, and meetings sustainability. Helsingborg Convention & Event Bureau is excited to collaborate with and empower stakeholders through related initiatives. This is particularly relevant to its desire for increased collaboration on new policies, a practice strongly encouraged by the benchmarking criteria. In the initial phase in 2022, stakeholder engagement will include consultations with the various parties to share and discuss improvement areas, targets and results, and to encourage involvement.
Helsingborg also sees its GDS-Index participation as a sign of legitimacy and accountability that lends authority and gravitas to its bids and business tourism promotions. “It will qualify and quantify our sustainability work,” Malin comments, “and prove that sustainability is top on our agenda.”