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Photo Credit: ECM

The GDS-Academy has launched and will deliver the latest, progressive perspectives, teaching and practical application that will catalyse the mindsets and skills sets of DMO professionals, organisations and their partners. The ultimate goal of the GDS-Academy is to enable positive social, environmental and economic regeneration through tourism and events based on a refreshed understanding of what it takes for a sector to thrive.

By using regenerative frameworks and fostering networking and collaboration the GDS-Academy will bring much needed new learning to enable destination professionals to adapt to the ever-evolving conditions brought upon by massive shifts in the sector so deeply affected by the global pandemic.

The GDS-Academy offers education as open-enrolment online classes for professionals and online/hybrid learning for organisations and destinations. The two initial formats are:

– The GDS – ICCA – ECM Certificate in Regenerative Destination Management. This powerful 16-week learning journey is designed to help experienced Destination Professionals to rethink, reimagine and redesign their destination’s tourism and events strategy.

– Masterclasses are 3-4 session action-focused, deep-dive learning experiences created to enhance skills and capacity in various critical subjects. The initial 4 masterclasses are Impact Strategy and Measurement, Planning for Recovery and Resilience, Regenerative Event Management and Storytelling for Regeneration. The Masterclasses are delivered in partnership with their education partners Travel Foundation and #MEET4IMPACT.

Guy Bigwood, the Managing Director of the GDS-Movement had this to say – “This day marks the realisation of our dream to provide destination marketing and management organisations with high quality, unique and specialised learning and development experiences about regenerative tourism and events. This milestone is a result of the deep commitment and great collaboration with our partners at ICCA, ECM, Travel Foundation and MEET4IMPACT.”

“Sustainability is simply essential for the future of our industry. As such, it is vital that the Association meetings community takes an active role in developing and implementing sustainable event strategies that are of the highest standards and fully aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” said Senthil Gopinath, CEO, ICCA.

Guy Bigwood

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Senthil Gopinath

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The faculty are experts in sustainable destination management and thought leaders in regenerative management practices. Together they facilitate dynamic learning experiences that accelerate professional growth using design thinking processes that are immersive, engaging and fun. The GDS-Academy is brought to you as a dynamic collaboration with ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) and ECM (European Cities Marketing) who are the strategic and certificate partners.

“We are delighted to partner with the GDS-Movement to develop an inspiring, inclusive, positive transformation towards an economy and society for a more resilient future. The GDS-Academy is completing well the activities and projects of the ECM Sustainability Knowledge Group to support and positively contribute to the development of the DMOs of tomorrow as well as sustainable urban tourism destinations,” said Petra Stušek, President of European Cities Marketing and CEO of Ljubljana Tourism.

“The whole team at #Meet4Impact is so excited to be part of the GDS Academy! This partnership provides a unique opportunity to join forces with the best-in-class in destination sustainability, and it’s the best channel we could hope for to launch this brand-new Impact Masterclass for DMOs. We are hopeful that sharing our knowledge will contribute to DMOs developing a purposeful pathway towards social and environmental regeneration through the visitor economy”, added Geneviève Leclerc, CMP, Co-Founder & CEO, #Meet4Impact

“We are excited to be able to take this programme to the next level, bringing together our unique perspective with the considerable expertise, experience and network of GDS. Through it, we look forward to working together with destinations to help them plan and deliver bold recovery plans and strategies that will see them fit for the future and ready to take on the challenges ahead in a way that puts people and the planet front and centre,” concluded Jeremy Sampson, CEO, the Travel Foundation.