Photo credit: Ljubljana Tourism / Dunja Wedam

The GDS-Index (Global Destination Sustainability Index) is intended for destinations, congress offices, event planners and MICE providers to help them make decisions, promote and recognize responsible sustainable practices in congress tourism in the event industry.

The GDS index is doing this by measuring and comparing the social and environmental sustainability strategies, policies and performance of the participating destinations, as well as by exchanging best practices from around the world. The index lists the destinations by the level of sustainable development that they have achieved and are helping MICE organizers, who are guiding the principle of sustainability in the choice of destination, and that they can choose among the most progressive destinations with the best green references.

GDS Index 2018

The latest GDS index, published in November 2018, has shown that Scandinavia is the most sustainable region in the world, as six of the highest-ranking destinations come from countries in the region. The objective of the entire Scandinavian region is to become fully independent of fossil fuels by 2030. The overall winner was Sweden’s Gothenburg this time, with a GDS score of 94%. Gothenburg is regarded as one of the most advanced cities in the world in dealing with climate and environmental issues. It was also ranked on the first place in the world to accelerate investment in climate-driven solutions and already achieved the goal set by Scandinavia for 2030.

The second-ranked Danish capital received the European Innovation City Award for improving the quality of life in the city, and with this year’s rating of 90%, Copenhagen moved from third place to the second. The third place belongs to Reykjavík with a score of 89%, followed by Oslo with 86%, and the fifth place is shared by Swedish Uppsala and Finnish Helsinki with a score of 84%.

Photo credit: www.visitsweden.com


Ljubljana was ranked 35th with an estimated 51%. Ljubljana is the only city in the region of New Europe and the region of Alpe Adria, which is ranked on the GDS index, which includes 47 countries in total. Ljubljana is ahead of the next countries: Rotterdam, Sapporo, Cork, Saint Petersburg, The Hague, Dubai, Washington, Turku, Prague, Limerick, Kerry, and Houston.

The index of environmental performance is determined by examining aspects such as air quality at the destination, the use of renewable energy sources, the efficiency of public transport and waste management infrastructure.

In the case of Ljubljana, it is estimated at 69%.

Photo credit: J.Kotar, Ljubljana Tourism photo library
Photos: www.odprtakuhna.si, www.visitljubljana.com

The factors of the social performance of a destination are important for an integrated approach to sustainability. They include elements such as the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) and the ranking of the destination in the global corruption index.

Ljubljana was estimated with 71%. 

Factors of sustainable supplier practices (hotels, caterers, venues, etc.) in the industry. Ljubljana implements general sustainable measures in the field of city management and in raising the overall quality of life in the city.

Ljubljana was rated at 43%.


For comparison between destinations, the role of the Congress Bureau is crucial in achieving sustainable development goals. The success of the CVB is based on the sustainable strategy and reporting on the achievement of goals, on the support provided by the CVB and its role in promoting sustainability in the industry.

The Ljubljana Convention Bureau performance is estimated at 46%.

Written by: Ajda Borak