The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) and EarthCheck have signed an alliance to develop and launch specialised certification and services for business tourism, event and meeting cities.
The key goal of the alliance is to help cities, regions and countries to improve the environmental, social and economic performance of their visitor economy, and become more sustainable and healthy places to visit, meet and live in.
The partners will launch GDS-Certify, a third-party sustainability certification for business tourism, events and meeting cities that will be delivered by EarthCheck science and software systems, and underpinned by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) Destination Criteria. GDS-Certify is applicable for urban destinations that are starting their sustainability journey, and for those who, as market leaders, want to push the boundaries of sustainability performance.
Guy Bigwood, Co-founder and Managing Director for the GDS-Index, commented; “Increasingly Destination Management and Marketing Organisations (DMOs) are championing sustainability and the use of eco-certification within their communities of event organisers, hotels, venues and restaurants. However only 16% of the GDS-Index DMOs have a destination certification. Our goal is to simplify and accelerate the journey from benchmarking to certification for destination management organisations, and then use certification to drive sustainability performance.”
Stewart Moore the Founder and CEO of EarthCheck said the partnership will provide a science based pathway for GDS-Index cities to achieve EarthCheck Certification and benchmarking.
“In addition to certification, we will collaborate to research, develop and provide high value services to help cities, regions, countries, and their value chains to measure and report on the social, environmental and economic impact of their visitor economy,” Mr Moore said.
Unlike other standards and rankings the GDS-Index was specifically created for the events and meetings industry and urban destinations. Initiated in 2015 by fifteen visionary Scandinavian Cities, the GDS-Index is a partnership between MCI, European Cities Marketing, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and GUBI Consulting. Currently the GDS-Index is working with over 60 destinations, key industry associations and clients to catalyse a regenerative movement in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.