We are thrilled to share the good news that GDS-Movement has embarked on a collaborative partnership with Congrès Inc. of Tokyo, Japan. By combining strengths, the two proactive organisations have a clear goal to increase the number of Japanese destinations with sustainability strategies, and that are benchmarked by the GDS-Index.

The GDS-Index is a key international platform for measuring and improving the sustainability of tourism and events destinations. It is a vital service of the data-driven and nature-inspired GDS-Movement, which also offers the GDS-Academy and GDS-Consulting. The GDS-Index’s management system offers an impartial, credible, third-party assessment that identifies strengths and opportunities.

Congrès Inc. offers professional services in various fields related to MICE*. The company has a wealth of experience operating large-scale international conventions such as the G7 Summit and medical conferences such as the mega Japanese Association of Medical Sciences conference, and engages exhibitions and events organisation and research consulting. In addition, Congrès Inc. operates some 90 cultural and tourism facilities throughout Japan, including its Congrès-brand MICE* facilities, art and science museums, aquariums, and observation decks, to name a few. It works on tourism promotion and supports urban planning.

* MICE is an acronym for Meeting (corporate conferences), Incentive (corporate training and incentive travel), Convention (by international organisations and academic groups) and Event/Exhibition (including exhibitions and trade shows). It refers to business events that entail a large convergence of people.

Source: Japan Tourism Agency official website

Japan has a proud history of sustainability actions and is focused on creating a regenerative future for tourism.

In 2020 the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) and UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific adopted the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria as policy and created national guidelines, the Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations (JSTS-D)1.

Japan Tourism Agency(JTA) and Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) encourage sustainability across the nation with dedicated policies. These include promoting regions that prioritise sustainable tourism, showcasing the country’s own successes, and encouraging inclusive tourism, regardless of perceived differences like gender, ability, or ethnicity2.

There are multiple advantages for a destination joining this growing global movement to step up and be counted.

– It can learn from pioneering cities around the world like Gothenburg, the highest-ranked in the 2o21 GDS-Index, and Lyon, its most improved destination overall.

– It can use its participation and improved performance to attract more desirable business.

– It can leverage its participation to boost brand credibility.

– It can develop its role in the industry to leave a positive legacy.

In close partnership, the GDS-consulting and Congrès Inc. teams will provide expert services to help Japanese destinations develop sustainability strategies, train their staff, develop supply capabilities, measure their impact, and communicate their sustainability programmes to clients and local stakeholders. 

Guy Bigwood Chief Changemaker of GDS-MovementChief Changemaker, Guy Bigwood, is delighted by the strategic union. “We look forward to helping Japanese destinations discover their collaborative edge by joining a community of destinations walking the talk, and measuring and reporting on it, too. We find that destinations benchmarking continuously see a significant improvement in their sustainability contributions as well as the development of regenerative destination management practices. In a time when 83% of travellers worldwide feel sustainability is important, this is a powerful advantage not just for people and planet, but for profits, too.”

TAKEUCHI Noriko Congrès Inc. presidentCongrès Inc. president, TAKEUCHI Noriko is equally excited. “Since our founding in 1990, Congrès Inc. has consistently engaged in communication and interaction between people, striving through our work such as convention, facility and exhibition/event management to encourage innovation. Our work supports a society where people can connect and understand one another. In this partnership, we will work with GDS-Movement to support tourism and MICE destinations to design from the perspective of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a Professional Congress Organiser that understands the unique characteristics of each destination.