Each year we aim to ensure that the GDS-Index remains relevant and reflective of emerging trends and global developments. In 2021 this has represented the challenge of producing a range of up-to-date criteria that continues to engage and motivate destinations towards improvement in these complicated times.
2021 marks the fifth edition of the criteria since its inception as a tool to measure the sustainable development performance for international urban destinations that began in 2016.
The GDS-Index criteria development process is lengthy and comprehensive, incorporating feedback from participating destinations, GDS-Index assessors and a Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of a range of destination and sustainability professionals to represent the complexities of sustainability within the leisure and business tourism sector.
Furthermore, care is taken to align the criteria with a series of industry bodies and tools such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination (GSTC-D v2.0) Criteria, UNWTO One Planet vision programme, European Cities Marketing DMMO Continuity Checklist and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The GDS-Index criteria 2021 incorporates recommendations for new wording in questions and guiding notes, as well as scoring. The number of criteria has grown to 71 indicators (from 69), with a maximum of 215.5 points (from 210). Further changes this year can also be witnessed in new criteria regarding biodiversity (EN), community engagement (SO), sustainable food – hotels (SU), and a shift towards improved impact measurement and better use of data to guide strategy development.
Next steps for the launch will be :
• OMNI platform opens for destinations to commence data upload (1st June)
• “Feeling the Pulse” Webinar (8th June) to highlight changes in the criteria
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all who have contributed towards this version of the GDS-Index, not least our Technical Advisory Committee who have undertaken several revisions of the indicators, supporting us to reach this significant step.
The GDS-Index criteria 2021 and benchmarking methodology can be accessed via this link :