European Cities Marketing (ECM) is the newest partner to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The GDS-Index is a collaborative partnership between ICCA, ICCA’s Scandinavian Chapter, IMEX, MCI Group and now ECM. It aims to promote the sustainable growth of international meeting destinations, highlighting best practices and responsible business tourism.
ECM will support the GDS-Index to engage with convention, leisure and city marketing professionals, and facilitate the communication and collaboration between cities to improve the sustainability of their destinations.
Currently 38 cities in 5 continents have joined the GDS-Index and are participating in all processes which aim to:
- Benchmark the sustainability of their destinations and their meeting and events industry
- Implement and improve the strategies of their Destination Management Organizations (DMO)
- Promote their responsible business initiatives and best practices to their clients, peers and other key stakeholders
- Engage and inspire clients to prize destinations with solid event sustainability initiatives
“Sustainability is an increasing concern for our members. With the growing environmental and social pressures facing cities, we need greater action and collaboration to accelerate the development of more sustainable destinations. The GDS-Index is a practical and tested benchmarking approach already used by 20 of our members. It has been proven to help DMO create, improve and promote destination sustainability strategies” commented Dieter Hardt-Stremayr, the new President of ECM.
Guy Bigwood, Project Director of the GDS-Index and MCI Group Sustainability Director added: “I am delighted to add the skills and network of ECM to our collaborative project. This partnership will help us to attract more cities, enhance our research, and expand our communication on how sustainability increases destination competiveness.”
ECM will also be promoting the new GDS-Index Whitepaper entitled “A Path to a Brighter Future”. The report draws from analysis of 35 cities who participated in the 2016 GDS-Index benchmarking study. Through case studies and comparative data, the research – conducted by MCI Sustainability Services – highlights ten key insights on how destinations can reinforce their cities sustainable development and competitive position through: leadership, financial incentives and capacity training, strong local community and supplier engagement, and effective communication about sustainability.