Gothenburg most sustainable meetings city for fourth year

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Guy Bigwood, Annika Hallman and James Rees at the 58th ICCA Congress. Guy Bigwood, Annika Hallman and James Rees at the 58th ICCA Congress.

Gothenburg, in Sweden, has been named the most sustainable city in the meetings industry for the fourth consecutive year.

The Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index has ranked the most sustainable destinations of 2019 based on 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 again came out on top with a total score of 89.6 out of 100, up by seven per cent from last year. They also received the GDS-Index Leadership Award.

The announcement was made at the ICCA Congress, in Texas, Houston.

The top 10 most sustainable destinations of 2019 are:

  • Copenhagen, Denmark – 88 per cent
  • Zurich, Switzerland – 84.6 per cent
  • Glasgow, Scotland – 78.5 per cent
  • Aalborg, Denmark – 76.3 per cent
  • Reykjavik, Iceland – 75.8 per cent
  • Malmö, Sweden -75.6 per cent
  • Sydney, Australia – 74.9 per cent
  • Uppsala, Sweden – 74.3 per cent
  • Melbourne, Australia – 74.3 per cent.
The 2019 GDS-Index results demonstrate that DMOs (Destination Management Organisations) are in action on sustainability with a 29 per cent increase in terms of overall performance from 2018.

Guy Bigwood, managing director of the GDS-Index said: “This years’ results provide positive signs of a global shift in how Destination Management Organisations integrate sustainability into their strategy, value proposal, stewardship and reporting activities.

“The results also highlight the need for DMOs to get much better at developing an inspiring vision of change, engaging their stakeholders and managing resources to implement and measure social impact for their communities and visitors.”

New destinations who advanced into the top 20 included Aalborg and Dublin, with significant jumps in performance for Glasgow, Sydney and Zurich.

For the first time, the GDS-Index Best Improver Award was presented to a region, with the honour being bestowed 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.

James Rees, president of ICCA, added: “As the effects of climate change become evident and social pressure for action increases, the meetings and events industry must continue to create positive economic impact for destinations, but also help influence the social and environmental policies that are affected by our business.

“Destination Management Organisations are a key catalyst and enabler of a sustainable visitor economy, and I am delighted to see the GDS-Index evolving and playing a vital role in accelerating the creation of sustainable destinations.”

For the 2019 GDS-Index click here.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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