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GDS-Index: The Echo of 2017 – A Year in Review


This year has been declared International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) and 2017 was indeed a good year for the GDS-Index. Most of the participating destinations have marked improvements, while a few have truly exceeded expectations especially when it came to CVB performance. Compared with last year, the GDS-Index had a 6% improvement in overall scores. Advancing a crucial part of sustainable tourism: Meetings & Events.

In order to encourage leading destinations acknowledge their effort and inspire others, the award winners were announced at ICCA 2017 Closing Ceremony; adding a third award this year for Most Improved Destination. It was thrilling to see Gothenburg winning the Leadership Award for a second consecutive year. On top of that, Gothenburg also won the Innovation Award for their brilliant project addressing the issue of accessibility, making it easier for people living with disabilities to experience events better.

Continuing the countdown of successes, this year’s rising star destination is Glasgow, winning the Most Improved Award. This significant win is attributed to the tremendous effort of their CVB leading to substantial improvements, but also its goal to become the Category Leader of the CVB Performance, achieving the highest score among other destinations. This secured a well-deserved place on the ‘top 5 destinations’ list for Glasgow, and – more importantly – attracted a number of major sustainability events, resulting in GBP 24 million economic benefit.

Overall, 2017 showed us the true impact of the GDS-Index, supported by the following statistics:

  • Destinations with a sustainability strategy for the MICE industry increased by 25%
  • Average CVB sustainability performance rose by 11%, with destinations such as Oslo, Aarhus and Malmö increasing their overall performance by more than 20%
  • The number of certified CVB/DMO have seen an 8% increase
  • As for total performance, although we have witnessed an increase of 6%, we have noticed that those on the Assess or Consult levels have performed around 15% better than those in the benchmarking level and have done about 40% better in CVB Performance

After a year in operation, these figures highlight a very promising future of the GDS-Index’s, proving that it induces real change and increases sustainability performance in destinations.

Looking ahead towards the future, it is great to see that 5 new destinations have joined the GDS-Index family: Brussles, Dublin, Goyang, Lausanne-Montreux and ICCA host city, Prague. These destinations have participated in this year’s benchmarking round, with the exception of Lausanne-Montreux and Prague due to time constraints.

Ghandi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world” and with this in mind, we are excited to see what 2018 has in store.

To discover how MCI can help you design a sustainable event that elevates your brand and exceeds expectations in attendee participation, visit us here.

Also, make sure to visit our sustainability blog for the latest insights and trends.

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