Bangkok and Goyang rise up in APAC's green scene

The two cities have advanced up the scale on their sustainability strategies as the annual Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index reveals.

Destination management organisations around the world are scaling up their sustainability strategies.
Destination management organisations around the world are scaling up their sustainability strategies. Photo Credit: Adobe/Keitma/f11photo

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok and South Korea's Goyang have performed strongly in this year’s Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index, overtaking the usual top APAC performers from Australia.

Goyang joined the Index in 2017 and its performance jumped significantly this year, launching the destination into the top 20 for the first time in 18th place, ahead of Melbourne, which is now in 20th place. Bangkok also enjoyed a rise in its rankings this year, coming in 28th place, just behind Sydney which placed 27th.

The report, unveiled last week, said the overall data highlights that there are many reasons to be hopeful and positive about the future of travel and events if ‘we act immediately, continuously and progressively.’ It said that Goyang and Bangkok’s steep rise is a result of ‘their collaboration with local universities to collect data in support of their submission, providing rich evidence of destination sustainability initiatives already in place’.

Khalisah Stevens, GDS-Index data manager said: “Proper documentation and reporting in a destination submission not only boosts its performance on the GDS-Index but also empowers it with organised, categorised data to share with stakeholders and prospective clients, and offers greater transparency to its residents and visitors.”

A total of seven APAC destinations are included in this year’s Index, with two out of the seven being capital cities — Singapore and Bangkok. Singapore was benchmarked for the first time in 2022, Goyang is the first Korean and APAC destination in the Top 20 and Bangkok won the ‘most improved award’. Sapporo, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne are veteran participants.

Globally, Gothenburg once again took the top spot in the Index for the sixth year running, while Bergen in Norway, appearing in the Index for the first time, was ranked in second place, with Copenhagen in Denmark placing third.

The GDS Index is a performance improvement programme supporting destination management organisations (DMOs) and convention bureaus to adopt and promote responsible and regenerative practices. The index assesses four key areas of the sustainability performance of a destination including the city’s environmental strategy and infrastructure, its social sustainability performance, industry supplier support and strategy and initiatives.

Co-founded in 2106 by ICCA Scandinavia, ICCA HQ, City Destinations Alliance (CityDNA), IMEX and MCI, the GDS-Index offers a resource for event planners looking for destinations that offer the best in city, supplier and destination management performance.



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