About Us

No Plan B

The revolution is here, where are you?

Join over 50 cities in the leading sustainability benchmarking & improvement programme for meetings & events destinations around the world.
The 2019 benchmarking period is open from June 5th to September 5th.

Click here to join us


The Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) is a destination level programme that measures, benchmarks and improves the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings, events and business tourism destinations.

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The mission of the programme is to engage, inspire and enable destinations
to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.

Sustainable Goals


Our work is aligned with the 2030 Agenda, and we are working to mainstream the integration of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals into the management of destinations globally.


One Planet
GDS-Index Logo

We are an official partner of the UN One Planet Sustainable Tourism Programme, and on their working group for “Circularity in tourism”.



Unlike other standards and rankings, the GDS-Index was specifically created for the events and meetings industry, and is the only programme of this type in the world.



The GDS-Index is not owned by any one organisation. It is operated as a multi- stakeholder partnership founded and endorsed by IMEX, MCI, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and European Cities Marketing. Gubi Consulting and Guy Bigwood is responsible for the management of the Secretariat.



It was created in 2015 by fifteen visionary Scandinavian Cities, MCI and the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

How do we help create more sustainable destinations?


Third party evaluation of Environment, Social,
Supplier and Destination Management Strategy
and Performance

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Specific recommendations to improve destination
strategy, initiatives and performance



Strategy development, stakeholder engagement,
communication campaigns, training and coaching,
measurement and reporting



Communication of member best practices through
media partners, social media, whitepapers and speaking



Key areas - What do we assess?

The GDS-Index uses 70 indicators that evaluate the destinations across four key areas:

Environmental Assessment

Environmental Assessment
Social Assessment

Social Assessment
Supplier Assessment

Supplier Assessment
CVB Assessment

CVB Assessment

Costs and levels of participation

Over 50 leading cities have chosen to become part of the GDS-Index community.

Sustainable destinations with strong, quality-of-life increasing programs become attractive to visitors, event organisers and inhabitants alike. These are the destinations who are using sustainability to drive economic development, accelerate innovation, build brand value, enhance competitive positioning and respond to client demand.

Service Levels & Pricing Summary

Deliverables Benchmark
Participation in Annual GDS-Index Benchmarking and Awards Check Check
Basic Benchmarking against other Destinations Check Check
Profile page on website Check Check
Right to use GDS-Index logo on DMO website and other communication materials Check Check
Detailed benchmarking report with performance improvement recommendations and online debriefing call Check Check
Access to advanced benchmarking tools on the GDS-Index online platform Check Check
Performance consulting: Coaching calls, strategy review & development, marketing analysis, training, public speaking or reporting support 6 Hours 26 Hours
Marketing package: Destination spotlight article, Boosted social media and press exposure via IMEX, ICCA, the Iceberg and other media partnerships Check Check
Workshop: Development and facilitation of workshop for DMO Team, or Destination Taskforce Check

Want to get your destination involved?

Why should a destination join the GDS-index?

Key benefits of joining the
leading sustainable destination
benchmarking and performance
improvement program include

1 Benchmark to drive better decision making

2 Gain expert advice to improve strategy

3 Catalyse collaboration and innovation within a destination.

4 Offer clients a trusted third party endorsement

5 Promote your destination sustainability story

6 Save money and time

“The GDS-Index is a unique example of how collaboration, including the sharing of best practices and expertise, can improve performance of destinations for the benefit of both our clients and local communities. It has provided us with opportunities and inspiration that has helped position Copenhagen as a leader in sustainable practices.”

Kit Lykketoft, Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Director