Worth sustaining? Platform launched to help cities rethink the future

The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) has launched a new platform to help cities develop radically new economic and social structures that will make them fairer, more inclusive, and, ultimately, more resilient places in which to live and work.

The overall aim of the Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement) is to help cities meet their sustainable development goals, but in a way that gets to the roots of the problem by transforming existing power structures that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Guy Bigwood said: “For 25 years, sustainable development has been revered as the solution to the world’s problems. However, the world is less equal and less inclusive than before.

“Rampant pollution, the decline and extinction of species and the impacts of extreme weather events continues to ravage communities. The pandemic has called on the world to stop and re-evaluate the systems in place and in power. The question is, are they resilient enough and do they offer a pathway to a future that is inclusive, circular and equitable?

“It’s no longer good enough to talk about sustaining a broken system, a focus on regenerating the social, economic and ecosystems upon which we depend is now critical.”

The GDS-Movement steps forward from the GDS-Index’s foundations in the meetings industry to take a more holistic view of the links between the visitor economy and urban development.

Bigwood said the switch would pose a challenge to tourism agencies and convention bureaux who needed to embrace an ‘evolution of thinking from sustainability to regeneration’.

“It requires a rethink of strategies, skillsets and mindsets from destination marketing at whatever cost, towards destination management and stewardship with shared value,” he said.