Photo Credit: ICCA

The world’s leading destination sustainability benchmarking

The world’s leading destination sustainability benchmarking and improvement programme, the Global Destinations Sustainability Index (GDS-Index), announced its 2022 results and award winners at the 61st ICCA Congress in Krakow on the 9 November 2022.

The Leadership and Most Improved awards result from comparing data from 65 destinations that submitted their performance for benchmarking in 2022. The Innovation award winner is chosen by how impactful, modifiable, and scalable a GDS-Movement member’s submitted project is.

2022 GDS-Awards Winners

– 2022 GDS-Index Leadership Award – Gothenburg, represented by Göteborg & Co

– 2022 GDS-Index Most Improved Award – Bangkok, represented by Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB)

– 2022 GDS-Movement Innovation Award – Belfast, represented by Visit Belfast, for its “Changing the Menu. For Good” initiative

Photo Credit: Visit Belfast

“We are thankful for this recognition of our hard work to uplift sustainability performance.”

For the sixth time, Gothenburg wins the Leadership award for its continual commitment, inspired vision, prompt action, and measurable impacts, followed closely by Bergen, Copenhagen, Aalborg, and Bordeaux.

“This is a fantastic recognition of Gothenburg’s long-term sustainability work. Succeeding in maintaining the top position for the sixth year is an achievement that shows that the city and the hospitality industry take sustainability work seriously and challenges other cities to do the same,” said Peter Grönberg, CEO of Göteborg & Co.

The Most Improved award was given to Bangkok, represented by the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). Earlier this year, the Bureau undertook action on all the recommendations in its 2021 GDS-Index Performance Improvement Report, leading to dramatic improvement.

“We are thankful for this recognition of our hard work to uplift sustainability performance since it has always been our focus to balance the act of business promotion and the global calls. The award reflects our fruitful collaboration between the government and Thai MICE stakeholders in the private sector to offer our best. We will continue to do more to ensure that the MICE industry can promote human well-being,” said Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB).

Photo Credit: Visit Belfast

This year, the Innovation Award winner is Visit Belfast for its pioneering project “Changing the Menu. For Good”. The aim of the project is to raise awareness, funds, and supplies for those experiencing growing food poverty in the city. This initiative is part of the City’s long-term commitment to delivering more sustainable events and leaving a positive legacy through the power of those events.

“Tourism has played a pivotal role in Belfast’s growth, vibrancy and economic well-being in recent years. Working collaboratively and creatively, Visit Belfast with our city stakeholders, community and industry partners have identified a way where tourism and events can help the most vulnerable in our society at a time when pressures from rising costs of living are impacting so profoundly on people’s lives.”

“Changing the Menu. For Good. is part of our long-term commitment to deliver more sustainable events that support our regenerative vision. We are delighted to receive this prestigious innovation award which is a huge endorsement of the project, which will contribute to accelerating the positive impact that tourism is making. Importantly, it leaves a lasting legacy that has our people and their needs at its heart,” commented Gerry Lennon, CEO, Visit Belfast.

The Big Picture

2022 shows one of the steepest growths in improvement across almost all metrics, raising the bar for destinations that will benchmark in 2023.

There has been a stunning 33% increase in an average performance in seven years across all destinations and a 44% increase in the Top 10. This data proves that GDS-Index participants are raising the bar to become regional, national, and international leaders in the journey towards better destination management.

The GDS-Index data overall highlights that there are many reasons to be hopeful and positive about the future of travel and events. Destination management organisations around the world are stepping up, scaling up and speeding up the development and implementation of their sustainability strategies.

“GDS-Movement salutes its members’ continuous commitment to measuring and managing the sustainability contributions of their tourism and events. Every step in the journey towards a destination’s social, environmental, and economic well-being counts dramatically and all GDS-Index participants are stewards of positive change.  Given the reach of  Business Events, it’s critical that this sector, specifically, further leverages the opportunity to act now, raise the bar, and invest in a thriving destination on a journey towards greater regenerative destination management, today and going forward. Working together, we all win,” said Guy Bigwood, Chief Changemaker and CEO, GDS-Movement.

See more about the GDS-Awards here.

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