The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) and EarthCheck signed an alliance to develop and launch specialised certification and services for business tourism, event and meeting cities at the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Conference in Azores.
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.
EarthCheck’s deep science and patented methodology and software platform was created for the world’s travel and tourism industry by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism (STCRC) over a 10 year period. The STCRC grew to be the largest dedicated tourism research organisation in the world. Today, EarthCheck continues its 30 year journey to support the development of a dynamic, internationally competitive, and sustainable tourism industry. In consultation with a broad cross section of stakeholders, EarthCheck identifies opportunities and challenges that are likely to impact on the global tourism industry over the next 5-10 years with a strong focus on scientific research, thought leadership and the development of tools and products to improve business practices and inform policy development.
EarthCheck is the world’s leading business advisory group specialising in sustainability and destination management for the travel and tourism industry. EarthCheck’s holistic approach to responsible tourism and its world leading science enables destinations and operators to benchmark and certify their performance with confidence and surety.
Through its Total Tourism Management™ platform, EarthCheck works in partnership with clients to help plan for the future and guide the design, construction and operation of smart buildings and the responsible management of tourism destinations. Find out more at earthcheck.org
ABOUT THE GLOBAL DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (GDS-INDEX)
The GDS-Index is the world’s leading sustainability benchmarking and performance improvement program for cities, their events and their visitor economy. It is a collaborative partnership between the International Congress and Convention Association, IMEX Exhibitions, European Cities Marketing, MCI Group and GUBI consulting. Its purpose is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.
The GDS-Index helps Destination Management Organisations and Convention Bureaus, key industry associations, suppliers and clients to develop effective strategies and practices in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The GDS-Index is creating a movement of industry transformation through benchmarking; consulting, training and tools; an awards programme and by building a global community of city focused destination sustainability professionals. Find out more at www.gds-index.com.