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Destinations recognised for sustainability efforts

Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Goyang were the winners at this years GDS-Index Awards, which recognise those destination seeking to minimise the environmental impact of business tourism.

For the third year running, the winners of the GDS-Index awards were announced during the Closing Ceremony of the ICCA Congress, held in 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The prestigious awards showcase the sustainability initiatives of convention bureaux and destination marketing organisations, with the aim of sharing best practices to inspire the meeting industry.

The GDS-Index works with convention bureaux and destination marketing organisations to maximise the positive impacts of business tourism whilst balancing the negative impacts through a sustainable approach to strategy.

The index also helps associations understand to what extent a destination can support their green demands

The GlDS-Index gives out three awards each year to those destinations that go above and beyond to ensure that their practices incorporate a strong sustainability element. The winners of the GDS-Index awards in 2018 are:

Innovation Award: Copenhagen

Wonderful Copenhagen released a bold long-term strategy: “Tourism for good”. The ambition of this strategy is to “make tourism part of the solutions for a sustainable future, not a part of the problem. Tourism is not a goal in itself, it is a means to a sustainable end”. The plan looks at how the destination and their stakeholders can contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and sets targets and actions for the next three years.

Leadership Award: Gothenburg

For the third year, Gothenburg Convention Bureau is still leading the way, setting the pace as well as sharing best practice in the industry. Goteborg & Co are pioneers and have inspired the Index with their unique integration of sustainability into their business practices.

Most Improved Destination Award: Goyang CVB

Goyang Convention Bureau, who joined the GDS-Index in 2017, has significantly improved their performance and made tremendous efforts in advancing their sustainability initiatives, according to judges. Goyang improved their overall performance by 17% and their CVB performance by an impressive 40%, mainly by formalising a sustainability strategy for the destination, putting in place tools to measure performance, and building capacity through industry trainings.

GDS-Index director Mélanie Delaplanche said: “The GDS-Index is keeping the strong momentum going with more than 50 destinations benchmarked in 2018. With a growing number of US destinations joining the rankings, such as Washington DC and Monterey County joining the Index this year. We are delighted to welcome more destinations from very different places of the globe: Bangkok, Dubai, St Petersburg but also more European destinations: Monaco, Ljubljana; Ireland is showing a strong commitment to sustainability, with Shannon, Cork, Galway and Kerry now on the Index.”

ICCA Interim CEO Dennis Speet said: “As we encourage our members to put sustainability at their top of their agendas, we are proud to host the announcements of the Global Destination Sustainability Index awards at the ICCA Congress for the third time. I would like to wish congratulations to the three winners and the runners-up, who have displayed incredible ingenuity in improving their sustainability benchmark for the benefit of their destination’s ability to both attract more meetings and improve the quality of life for the local community.”