Global Movement Launches Enhanced GDS-Index Criteria for Sustainable Destinations – Travel And Tour World

The Global Destination Sustainability Movement (GDS-Movement), a trailblazer in promoting regenerative practices for destinations and events worldwide, spearheads the GDS-Index initiative.

The GDS-Index is a comprehensive tool for destinations, designed to evaluate, compare, and enhance their regenerative strategies and actions in tourism and events on a global scale. The unveiling of the 2024 GDS-Index criteria sets the stage for this year’s assessment period, beginning on March 25th, involving more than 100 dedicated destinations around the world.

The development of the GDS-Index criteria is rooted in the ISEAL Codes of Good Practice, in harmony with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the GSTC Destination Criteria. This year’s revision was an extensive six-month effort, incorporating feedback from over 650 comments by current and former participants, partners, the GDS-Movement team, the City DNA Sustainability Knowledge Group of European Destinations, and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of 15 specialists in tourism, academics, and destination sustainability.

The 2024 update brings 12 new and 28 revised criteria, making up a total of 77 qualitative and quantitative benchmarks in four key areas: environmental, social, supplier, and destination management. These enhancements make the index a more stringent tool, equipping destinations to tackle major challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and social issues, which are intensified by inadequate legislation.

Enhancements and expansions to the index prioritize sub-sections essential for long-term sustainability and strategic planning. These areas encompass water management, the circular economy, management of short-term tourism rentals, financing methods, the attitudes of residents, initiatives for climate action, oversight of visitors, development of capabilities, transportation solutions, and the promotion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).

“Amidst mounting global challenges, the urgency for faster and smarter responses in tourism is clear. With destinations actively engaging in their sustainability journey, our criteria update reflects a commitment to evolution, addressing emerging issues, and emphasising regeneration. This isn’t just about improvement; it’s about propelling the industry towards a regenerative future, urgently calling for collective action to change the tourism and events industry to mitigate climate change and accelerate real action on sustainability worldwide.” – Guy Bigwood, CEO of the GDS-Movement 

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