The GDS-Index released the 2019 ranking of the sustainability performance of 50 global business tourism and events destinations, at the closing ceremony of the 58th ICCA Congress held in Houston. In this fourth year of benchmarking, the GDS Index developed and aligned a more demanding set of criteria with other significant stakeholders including the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, the Social Progress Imperative and the Events Industry Council. With the help of an external technical advisory board, this process has brought transparency, rigour and additional value to the GDS Index, further embedding its use in the Meetings, Events and Tourism sectors.
The GDS-Index benchmarks performance across four key areas: city’s environmental strategy and infrastructure; city’s social sustainability performance; industry supplier support; and the destination management organisation’s strategy and initiatives. Gothenburg came top of the list of cities in the GDS-Index for the fourth year running. With a score of 89.64 out of a possible 100 points, and with a 7% improvement from last year, Gothenburg received the 2019 GDS-Index Leadership Award. These results demonstrate that DMOs are in action on sustainability with a 29% increase in terms of overall performance from 2018. New destinations who advanced into the top 10 included Aalborg and Dublin, with significant jumps in performance for Glasgow, Sydney and Zurich.
The 2019 GDS-Index Awards were announced simultaneously to honour the sustainability performance, innovation and improvement of the destinations. For the first time, the GDS-Index Best Improver Award was presented to a region, with the honours being installed on the Meet in Ireland Partnership representing Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Kerry. They joined the GDS-Index in 2018 with a vision to collaborate and improve destination sustainability as a region. Aalborg and Ljubljana also made major performance and ranking jumps.